30 Oct 2014 - GP referral scheme From Saturday 1st November 2014, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) will launch a new GP referral initiative where clinicians within North Lancashire (including Lancaster and Morecambe) will be able to refer appropriate patients to the scheme, which will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also known as an acute visiting service (AVS), the scheme varies from other existing GP referral schemes, as there is more than one provider and during certain time periods, will include direct access to GPs within their own surgeries, without the need to speak to the receptionist first. NWAS Sector Manager for North Lancashire, Rick Shaw said: “The launch of this scheme means that the whole of Cumbria and Lancashire will be covered by a GP referral scheme. This provides our clinicians with the ability to provide the right level of care for patients and their immediate care needs, once it has been established that their condition has been assessed as a non-emergency presentation. “It will help to alleviate pressure on hospital emergency departments by delivering/ helping to provide appropriate and safe care closer to home. “The projected referral rate, based on current call levels in the area, is approximately 75 patients to the scheme, per month. Also, it will allow NWAS to deliver care that is more timely, more focused and more beneficial for our urgent cases.” To qualify for the scheme, patients must be 16 years or over and live within North Lancashire and be registered with a GP in the area.