Northampton General Hospital has submitted plans to ease pressure on its emergency department with a new building for GPs and consultants.
The building would in effect extend the current, overloaded, accident and emergency department and help reduce patient numbers by filtering minor cases, who should not be there, to nearby GPs.
Hospital bosses have stressed that only genuinely urgent cases will be seen by the GP and that the new building should not be used as a way to get around a lack of appointment slots at local surgeries.
People arriving with non-urgent conditions will be told to visit a pharmacist or sent home.
The new single storey structure will be built on currently vacant hardstanding to the north of A&E and will see some parking spaces lost.
Deborah Needham, NGH chief operating officer, said: “The proposed A&E extension is one of several changes we want to make in order to increase our capability for providing urgent care to a growing number of acutely unwell patients.
“This extension will house a ‘navigation’ nurse who will assess patients and guide them to the appropriate place for treatment. This will either be straight into A&E for serious cases, or to primary care for less serious injuries or illnesses. In some cases patients may be referred to a pharmacist or even sent home without treatment.”
The extension will also increase resuscitation facilities and provide office space within A&E. Redevelopment work is expected to be completed by March 2015.