Experienced nurses will be in charge of the minor injuries unit at Stamford Hospital during a six-month pilot scheme.
Health chiefs at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust, which manages the hospital, have pushed ahead with plans for the unit to be led by a team of emergency nurse practitioners.
The move was suggested last year, along with a raft of improvements, as part of the trust’s plans for a major redevelopment of the hospital in Ryhall Road.
The trust’s medical director John Randall said: “Following a review of minor injuries units it became apparent that similar units nationally were being successfully managed by emergency nurse practitioners.
“We have grown and developed our emergency nurse practitioner service since 2003 and this approach has enabled us to have a team of skilled and experienced emergency nurse practitioners, who are able to provide the same service at Stamford Hospital.
“During the pilot at Stamford Hospital we will monitor the numbers seen and patients referred to Peterborough City Hospital for further assessment or treatment.
“In addition, we will evaluate the services including statistics, patient feedback, complaints or adverse events and patient accolades.”
Emergency nurse practitioners have at least eight years experience and are qualified to degree level or equivalent.
They are able to diagnose and treat patients, order investigations, prescribe drugs or refer patients to another department.
The team will be led by Julie Orr, who will be supported by a trained nurse or a health care assistant from the emergency department at Peterborough City Hospital.
It means patients at Stamford Hospital will receive the same level of care as if they visited the emergency department at Peterborough City Hospital.
From April, the John Van Geest ward at the hospital will also become a community ward. It will retain the 22 beds it has, which are currently used for elderly patients.
The new service, which has been developed with GPs, means patients will be able to be referred to the ward 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the trust or directly by GPs.
It will be used by patients who do not need to go to an acute hospital or by those that need further rehabilitation before they go home.