Patients in Sunderland will be able to access urgent care more simply and closer to home after changes to local NHS services on 1 August 2019.
“From 1 August 2019, the best way to access NHS urgent care services will be to contact your GP practice or local pharmacy, or call NHS 111 when they are closed,” said Dr Tracey Lucas, a local GP and Clinical Lead at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Urgent care is for minor injuries or illnesses which need medical attention the same day, but are not serious enough for the Emergency Department.
These changes follow detailed consultation with patients which took place last year. From 1 August, these will be the main urgent care services for patients in Sunderland:
- GP practices – collectively providing extra appointments in evenings, weekends and bank holidays. These can be booked through your GP practice, at one of five locations around Sunderland, Washington and Houghton.
- Pharmacists – local pharmacists are highly trained and provide free, confidential advice on minor illnesses from sickness and diarrhoea to hay fever.
- Urgent care centres at Pallion or Bunny Hill health centres, open 10am-10pm Monday to Friday; 8am-10pm weekends and bank holidays, no appointment needed.
- NHS 111 – if you have an urgent need which is not life-threatening, NHS 111 health advisors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help you get the right medical attention for your needs.
The current urgent care services at Houghton and Washington health centres will cease on 31 July 2019. The other NHS services based at these centres are not affected.
Dr Tracey Lucas added: “Once the changes are in place, it will be easier for patients to get care closer to home and see the right professional for their needs, first time.
“We made a number of changes to our plans after comments from patients, including a better reception space at Pallion, with a waiting area for children, as well as better management of parking at the site.
“The urgent care centre at Pallion will be upgraded to become an Urgent Treatment Centre in December. We have therefore arranged for the urgent care service at Bunny Hill to stay open until then, to provide an extra option for patients.
“We will always ensure that the right care is there for you when you need it, but we ask people to remember that many minor illnesses can be treated at home, or with advice from a local pharmacist.”