Urgent and emergency care – have your say

Update March 2019:

Your local NHS has been reviewing urgent care services in Swale.

We want to create an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) which will treat minor illness and injuries for all ages and form a key part of our urgent care services. This is in line with NHS England’s national strategy to improve urgent and emergency care and make it easier for people to understand what services are available to them.

Urgent Treatment Centres are being created across the country to bring the following services together:

  • Walk in Centre, which provides urgent GP appointments to people
  • Minor Injuries Unit
  • GP out of hours services

The CCG had initially planned to have an Urgent Treatment Centre at both Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital and Sheppey Community Hospital. However, when the CCG approached the market, it was found that the services specified were not affordable.

The CCG are now reviewing the specification, data and previous engagement to look at options, which may lead to a public consultation if major service change is planned. The CCG will bring our findings to the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) in March 2019 to discuss how we will be moving forward.

What next?

If the CCG decides to take its plans further, it is likely to hold a formal public consultation later this year which will include many more opportunities for us to update local people on our plans and let them have their say.

Background

We carried out a review of local urgent and emergency care services, to tackle the current issues and improve the patient’s experience of these vital services.

In November 2016, a whole system urgent care engagement event took place that was attended by over 70 people including patient representatives, voluntary sector organisations, hospital clinicians, GPs, out-of-hours providers, community staff and commissioners. Further local public and patient listening events were also held to gain valuable input from over 100 local people across north Kent.

These initial engagement events have led to discussions about the work to date, and resulted in valuable insights which will help us to shape future services and possible future models of care in Swale and across north Kent. Stakeholder events were held to address organisational issues between NHS providers to identify improvements that could be made jointly to reduce delayed transfers of care and to improve awareness and patient experience of the NHS 111 service.

The information put forward by the public and stakeholders, is likely to feed into additional work to develop future models of community and primary care. This will be linked together in the coming years to ensure that all our plans are joined-up as part of Kent and Medway’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Engagement so far

As a commissioning organisation for NHS services in North Kent it is our duty to engage with public, patients and clinical professionals and to ensure any proposed changes are informed by our populations’ needs and expectations prior to formal consultation and procurement.

There are currently national issues around accessing GP services both day to day and when deemed urgent. We recognise that there are also workforce and growth issues that need to be tackled across our providers.

The best results for patients will be achieved by working collaboratively with other health and social care organisations and providing services in a more integrated way, and with this in mind, the CCGs in north Kent held a whole systems urgent care engagement event which involved:

  • patient representatives
  • voluntary sector organisations
  • hospital clinicians
  • GPs
  • out-of-hours providers
  • community staff
  • commissioners

This was a collaboration to discuss possible future models of care in Swale and within the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley area. Presentations and workshop sessions allowed the delegates to work together to tackle issues and focus on improving patient access, promoting appropriate health services and breaking down organisational barriers to improve patient experience. Strong commitments were made from all the organisations represented to think and work collaboratively and keep the momentum going throughout the review process which is anticipated to continue throughout next year.

If you would like to become involved in the conversation and engagement surrounding these issues you can join the CCG’s local Health Network.

We have also talked with local people at our roadshows, and had discussions with our Patient Participation Groups and Swale Patient Liaison Group.