NHS leaders have moved to reassure local people about the future of urgent care in Sunderland as a review of the service moves into its next stage.
Ann Fox, Director of Nursing, Quality and Safety at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “I’d like to thank the thousands of local people who have taken the time to share their views and ideas over the past few months. This feedback is important to us and will help us decide how to provide the best possible services within the resources available to us.
“As doctors and nurses, it is our responsibility to ensure that people can access high quality services, and this is something we take extremely seriously.
“We have gathered comments and ideas from over 2,500 people right across the city and surrounding areas, we will carefully consider this alongside all the clinical evidence over the coming weeks.”
“People quite rightly have strong feelings about our local NHS and value it highly, so we very much understand if patients have concerns. This stage of the process is all about making sure the report is thorough and includes everything that needs to be considered, from petitions and letters to concerns about transport.
A draft report was published during October, and this will be reissued in its final form at the end of this month.
“The independent analyst is now working on these updates so that the report can be used as a core part of our decision in January.”
Urgent care services provide access to healthcare including minor injuries and minor illnesses. A&E services are not affected by these proposals.
The CCG launched its public consultation into the future of urgent care services in May, with the aim of making it easy and simple to access NHS urgent care services as close to home as possible while making the best possible use of limited NHS funding and workforce.
The proposed new urgent care service would consist of an urgent treatment centre located at Pallion Health Centre, alongside the improved 111 telephone service, extra appointments at local GP practices and options to see a GP at evenings or weekends through the Sunderland Extended Access Service.
All the feedback will be reviewed along with clinical evidence, before the CCG’s Governing Body meets to make a decision in January 2019. The changes are expected to take place from April 2019.
The consultation process has been independently reviewed by The Consultation Institute and found to be consistent with recognised standards of good consultation practice.
Details of the consultation can be found here.