Ahead of the Future Fit reorganisation of health services, should that go ahead, the Clinical Commissioning Groups are consulting on the renewal of the urgent care contract. This provides non-emergency treatments at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princes Royal Hospital in Telford 12 hours a day.

In a survey launched without fanfare on 1 February, the Shropshire and Telford Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are asking for views on providing urgent care treatment to the hours of 9am to 9pm. They are also asking if it would be helpful to pre-book appointments.

I had missed the survey until emailed about it yesterday. It was slipped out in a low-key announcement on the Shropshire CCG website a couple of days after the Future Fit decision. There is no information on the Telford and Wrekin CCG website. No background papers are provided but a paper on the retendering was considered by the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee in January.

The survey is open for just 11 full days. (I understand that the survey was initially password locked so the actual period will be shorter.) It closes on Tuesday 12 February. It has been launched in the context of the retendering of the CCGs’ urgent care contract in October for a futher three years.

The CCG survey clarifies the difference between an A&E and Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) – which is the national NHS name for urgent treatment facilities. In the A&E, patients will be assessed by a consultant.

“Urgent needs (a condition that needs same day medical attention) are treated by a GP-led team and emergency needs (a potentially life-threatening condition) are treated by specialist emergency consultants and their teams.”

But not if you have an urgent need overnight, you’ll have wait until the next day or go to A&E as at present. The consultation states:

“It is proposed the Urgent Treatment Centres would be open from 9am – 9pm each day to support the busiest times in the Emergency Department.”

That change will increase the opening hours for urgent treatment at the Princes Royal Hospital from 11 to 12 hours.

The survey also asks:

“If you could book an appointment time is that something you would choose to do rather than wait?”

Patients who walk-in will receive a rapid initial clinical assessment within 15 minutes of arrival. They will then get an appointment not more than two hours after arrival. Patients who have a pre-booked appointment through NHS 111 will be seen and treated within 30 minutes of their appointment time.

Previously, the two walk-in services had operated to different standards under different providers. The plan is for the centres to be standardised under one contractor and for them to meet the national standard of Urgent Treatment Centres.

This is not a Future Fit change. It comes from the need to retender under national rules and the requirement to implement a new national Urgent Treatment Centre standard. But I am disappointed that the CCGs are not moving more quickly towards having urgent care centres open 24×7. There are often long waiting times in A&E of people who could be assessed and treated in an Urgent Treatment Centre.

Only 66% of patients arriving at A&E were seen within Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust were seen within four hours. Only one hospital trust in England had a worse performance. Whatever the outcome of Future Fit, it makes sense to extend urgent care quickly. We can’t keep on waiting for adequate health care in this country. Perhaps we are only supposed to be ill between 9am and 9pm.

It is also time that we stopped tendering vital health services to parties that soak up NHS cash for their shareholders’ profit.

One thought on “Survey on renewal of urgent care in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin – closes Tuesday”
  1. Having seen how this is done in other countries (We would do well to compare with other places and pick up ideas of what is good and not so good instead od talking about it all the time) – Urgent Care Centres are a good idea.
    If they pick up the less urgent cases it allows for the emergencies to be dealt with in the ER section.
    As an alternative to waiting for a few days to see the doctor in non urgent cases?
    I disagree totally.
    Having waited 10 hours in ER Shrewsbury with my wife to be seen for 5 minutes and then told to go to a certain department the next day at 8.30 and then wait for a further 5, and see someone for another 5 minutes we were not happy with this.

    Number of people bringing in kids with sore throats, slight cuts etc…perhaps we need to be better informed and stricter on who goes to see whom for what it might cut this out a bit.
    Address the issue of Drunks in A & E, my wife had a hypo one night at 10 o’clock, waiting with ambulancemen in A & E for 3 hours whilst many drunks were seen to with self induced damage to themselves. The ambulance person told my wife it is like it most nights…..so why are we so soft to the detriment of really sick people….

    Get the Urgent care centres set up properly, get the public educated so that they use the correct service – pharmacy, local surgery, Urgent Care or A & E and it would help a lot to prevent wastage of our wonderful NHS.

    People do not know how fortunate we are, having lived abroad and having had to pay £350 for an Urgent Care visit for one stitch…trust me the NHS is wonderful…lets use it properly

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