Future of urgent care services discussed by governing body

East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has today, 19 December 2017, announced its intention to progress with implementing plans to transform urgent care services across the East Riding area. This follows a three month public consultation from October 2016 to January 2017 on the CCG’s plans to improve access to care and treatment for minor injuries and to change the way people receive care in the community.

The CCG’s plans were independently scrutinised and supported by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) following a referral of the plans to the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt.

Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer, said: “We accept the outcome of the report published by the IRP and thank them for their scrutiny of the process. The panel agrees that the clinical case for change has been made regarding our plans for the future of urgent care services in East Riding of Yorkshire. This means we can now progress with implementing these plans, which we believe will deliver an improved service to our population.”

As with any review, there are some lessons to be learned and the CCG will continue to work in a productive way with local GPs and the Health, Care and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) as the new services are implemented and communicated. 

Jane continues: “We really appreciate the time taken by the panel of experts who have looked in detail at the range of evidence presented and provided their independent advice.  We have already had positive discussions with our local councillors on the HOSC, GP practices and our community services provider City Health Care Partnership. We need to build on this and spend time, together, clearly engaging with the public about how they will be able to access the new services and reassure them that this will be an improvement across East Riding.”

Introducing Urgent Treatment Centres

Working with the community services provider, City Health Care Partnership (CHCP), the CCG will now progress with introducing three Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) located in Beverley, Bridlington and Goole. These will be open for 16 hours a day, from 7am until 11pm and 365 days a year, with no variation between centres. The UTCs will treat and assess a wide range of minor ailments and injuries. These centres are for people whose condition is urgent, but do not need emergency life-saving treatment at an emergency department (A&E). All residents from across the East Riding and visitors to the area can attend any of the UTCs either by calling NHS111 or by simply walking in.

In response to feedback received during the public consultation, people with minor injuries will also be able to book urgent appointments, through NHS 111, at two planned care centres that will be open from 8am to 8pm daily, located at Alfred Bean Hospital in Driffield and at Withernsea Community Hospital.  This addition will allow the majority of people who previously attended the local Minor Injury Units in these areas to continue to have their minor injury needs met locally.

Overall, the introduction of these new services will see an increase in the number of hours urgent care services are available in the East Riding, particularly on an evening and weekend.

Dr Gina Palumbo, GP and Clinical Chair, explains: “Our aim is to reduce uncertainty for patients about where they can go if they need urgent help with a minor injury, like a burn, cut or simple fracture.  All three of our Urgent Treatment Centres will be open every day from 7 in the morning until 11 at night and will offer a consistent range of advice and treatments, including access to x-ray. People will know when they arrive at an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) they will be looked after by highly trained clinicians. 

“The additional service which allows people who have very minor burns, bites or cuts, etc to book an urgent appointment at either Driffield or Withernsea through NHS 111 will support more people locally. We are strongly encouraging people to ‘talk before they walk’ so that they can receive the support and advice they need or be directed to the appropriate service to ensure people are seen in the right place, first time.” 

Improving Care in the Community

The CCG will also create an enhanced integrated community and intensive rehabilitation centre at East Riding Community Hospital in Beverley, supported by improved care at home or in care homes located across the East Riding.

The East Riding Community Hospital in Beverley will provide enhanced support for people who are recovering from an illness, operation or complex stroke and need ongoing nursing or intensive therapy support to return them to as good, healthy, or normal life as possible. 

The introduction of enhanced short term NHS support in care homes will help people who are medically fit but not quite ready to go home, get out of the large hospitals into a safe, home-like environment where they can be assessed and supported to get home much more quickly than is currently possible.

This model of care will allow more people to be supported back to independence in their own homes and will support earlier discharge from acute hospital care.

Dr Gina Palumbo said: “Once people are medically fit, the best place for them is not a large hospital and the clinical evidence shows that people recover faster when they are back in their own home environment, carrying on with their activities of daily living.  Wherever possible, more patients will also be looked after in their own home environment avoiding the need for a hospital admission.  I am delighted that we are now able to start bringing in the changes that are necessary to improve the care of patients in the East Riding.”

The CCG will work with local partner organisations to actively promote how people can access the new services which are expected to be up and running by the end of March 2018. More details on timescales will be made available as the CCG moves through mobilisation.

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