Clinical Assessment Service

An introduction to Lincolnshire’s Clinical Assessment Services

What is the CAS and why do we need it in Lincolnshire

The CAS is the new integrated and virtual Clinical Assessment Service being launched in Lincolnshire at the end of September 2016.   It is a key part of our urgent care solution and the first to be tested and implemented.  Navigating the urgent care service in Lincolnshire is currently complex and confusing for patients, with poor patient experience and a fragmented and inconsistent service across our rural county.   We do not currently meet national standards for urgent and emergency care and we need to take steps to reduce our A&E attendances and our admissions.

The Urgent & Emergency Care Review and Five Year Forward View both advocate a fundamental redesign of the urgent care ‘front door’ – including a more coherent ‘all hours’ telephone access, ‘treatment‘ and clinical advice service for patients and health professionals alike.  This needs to be in place across the county by 2018.

Our new integrated and virtual Clinical Assessment Service will help to:

  • Reduce inequalities in accessing urgent care
  • Increase the speed of initial response, including reducing variation in assessment and delivering consistent onward referral
  • Deliver urgent care in the appropriate (right) place and at the appropriate (right) time by the appropriate (right) person
  • Improve patient experience
  • Reduce A&E attendance and non-elective hospital admissions

How will it work? 

Calls from health professionals (ie GPs, care homes), as well as 111 calls and non-emergency 999 calls will be passed through to a virtual team of clinicians.   These clinicians will have access to patient records through the Care Portal which will support right decision making and ensure a coordinated and informed response.  They will speak to the patient themselves, or the professional, and will then advise them on the most appropriate service or book that service directly for them.  Rotas will be staffed by the EMAS Clinical Assessment Team and the LCHS Primary Care Out of Hours team.   The new service will work closely in partnership with DHU, the new provider for 111 services in Lincolnshire and the launch of the CAS coincides with the new contract start date for DHU.

An alliance contract between commissioners, providers and EMAS has been set up for the new service.  The CAS is one of a number of initiatives that have been developed through Lincolnshire Health and Care, the county’s transformation programme for health and care services.

The diagram below shows how it will operate:

CAS diagram