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Welsh emergency services face shake-up

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A network of new emergency care centres will be introduced in Wales as part of a strategy to reduce pressure on hospital-based A&E units.

The Welsh Assembly plan includes pioneering ‘Urgent Care Centres’ to provide services for patients who currently access A&E with problems that are not considered life-threatening.

Communication technology is also to be improved between Minor Injury Units and major A&E units. Four sites have been chosen to test the strategy before it is rolled out.

Health minister for Wales Edwina Hart said: ‘Let me be clear – this isn’t about rationing care. Hospital facilities will always be available and the multiple points of access into the system will not change.’

Tina Donnelly, director of RCN Wales, said: ‘We are confident that this strategy will ensure investment in nurses with specialist skills, primary out-of-hours care and improvements to the physical environment and capacity of the emergency care departments.

‘Nurses working in emergency care have a demanding role to fulfil and it is important that this strategy recognises the huge contribution of the nursing workforce,’ she added.

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