Medway residents are being urged to comment on plans that will make it easier for patients to access urgent care services in one place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is keen to understand the views and experiences of patients, public, stakeholders and staff who live in Medway and the surrounding areas.
Dr Sharif Hossain, Clinical Lead for Urgent Care at Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, said: “Nationally, it is widely recognised that the current system for delivering urgent and emergency care is under significant pressure. We have therefore been reviewing urgent care services for some time and are now ready to share our proposals for improvements.
“We know patients trying to access urgent care find it confusing as there are so many different services available in different places. We are proposing to create a new GP-led Urgent Care Centre to bring all urgent care services together to provide a single access point to people with non life-threatening conditions who need advice, diagnosis and treatment.”
The proposed Urgent Care Centre would be located near the A&E Department at Medway Maritime Hospital. A range of tests, treatments and services would be available in one centre, 24 hours a day, seven days a week from April 2019.
Patients needing emergency care – which includes immediate or life-threatening conditions, serious injuries or illness – would continue to be treated in A&E but by treating those needing urgent care elsewhere, pressures on the A&E Department should be reduced.
Services currently provided at the Walk-in Centre at Balmoral Gardens Healthy Living Centre would be relocated and provided within the Urgent Care Centre, which is less than a mile from the current location.
Dr Hossain continued: “Ultimately our proposals are intended to improve the patient experience and ensure better health outcomes. We want people to be able to access the most appropriate clinicians in a timely manner and to make the best use of skilled staff.
“Locally, we know up to six out of 10 patients choose to go to A&E first without trying to access their GP or a different urgent care service, even when their illness or injury is not an emergency. This has to change – not only to improve the experience and outcome for those seeking urgent care but also to ensure patients with critical, life-threatening conditions can be treated quickly and appropriately.
“As so many people make A&E their first port of call, it makes sense to locate the Urgent Care Centre near the Emergency Department. Upon arrival at the Centre, patients would be seen by an experienced senior nurse who will then direct them to the most appropriate service.”
The Centre would bring together: GPs; Nurse Practitioners; minor injuries; minor illnesses; emergency pharmacy advice; Children’s Unit; frail and elderly care services; direct access to an acute surgical or medical assessment unit within the hospital; access to urgent mental health care; social care services; access to diagnostics such as x-ray and pathology; and a fast track to the Emergency Department. The Centre would also offer walk-in and bookable appointments, including home visits, and see patients who have dialled 999 or NHS 111 and have been triaged.
Medway Clinical Commissioning Group is holding public engagement events to enable people to ask questions and share their views on the proposals. Anyone wishing to attend must register via www.medwayccg.nhs.uk/urgentcare.
The events are taking place on:
- Wednesday 9 August, 6.30-8.30pm, Priestfield Stadium, Redfern Avenue, Gillingham, ME7 4DD
- Wednesday 30 August, 9am-5pm, Oasis Academy (Isle of Sheppey West Campus), Marine Parade, Sheerness, ME12 2BE. This is a joint event with Swale Clinical Commissioning Group.
- Tuesday 5 September, 6.30-8.30pm, St George Hotel, 8 New Road, Chatham, ME4 6BB
To view more details of the proposals to improve urgent and emergency care in Medway as well as share your views via an online questionnaire, visit http://www.medwayccg.nhs.uk/urgentcare. Questionnaires must be received by 5pm on Friday 22 September.
Printed copies of the proposals and the questionnaire can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01634 335020.
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Andrew Metcalf, Rachel Knight or Erica Jones at Maxim
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Notes to Editors
- Medway CCG is responsible for planning and buying local NHS services, for the patient population of 295,223 across Medway.
- Medway CCG’s main role is to plan and buy health services across the Medway towns. It works closely with patient groups, local public health, social care and voluntary sector partners to make sure the right services are available at the right time.
- The CCG is one of 211 in the country, the Medway CCG is made up of GPs, other healthcare professionals and experienced commissioners dedicated to making Medway a healthier place to live.
- It is committed to developing a strong clinically-led organisation that puts the needs of Medway residents at the heart of its decisions.
- Medway Clinical Commissioning Group has a governing body made up of local GPs, a registered nurse and several lay members, all working with a network of health professionals across the area.