Have your say on future of Sunderland’s urgent care service

Pallion Health Centre in Hylton Road, Sunderland.
Pallion Health Centre in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

Patients across Wearside are being asked to have their say on the future of urgent care across Sunderland.

A proposed new urgent care service for Sunderland would include an urgent treatment centre located at Pallion Health Centre.

We want to make it easy and simple to access NHS services wherever you live in Sunderland as part of our vision, achieving ‘Better Health for Sunderland’.

Dr Tracey Lucas

NHS Sunderland Clinical Commisioning Group say the service would also offer booked appointments as well as walk-in appointments.

It will deal with minor injuries with access to x-ray facilities as well as minor illnesses.

The CCG added that groups of GP practices would be working together to offer urgent and planned appointments on evenings and weekends. People will be assessed by their practice or 111 to decide if they need to be seen at their own practice for continuity of care or if they can be seen at the Sunderland Extended Access Service.

Urgent care services provide access to medical care to minor injuries and minor ailments. They are separate from A&E services which provide emergency care for people with life-threatening conditions.

As part of the consultation, people are being asked to give feedback on the following issues:

* Where do you think the Sunderland Extended Access Service should be located?

* What should the opening times be for the urgent treatment centre and the Sunderland Extended Access Service?

* Whether or not the urgent treatment centre and Sunderland Extended Access Service should be joined up

The CCG says it has spent the last two years speaking to hundreds of people about how they use urgent care services.

Replies have include claims the system is confusion, they want to see their GP first when they have an urgent care need and if they have a long-term condition, they want the same care from the professionals who know their needs and issues.

The CCG says the changes would see groups of GPs work together to offer urgent and planned appointments on evenings and weekends.

This would mean more appointments and freeing up appointments for those who need to be seen urgently, and allow the service to use the funds it has “more wisely.”

It says this has helped form the consultation, which will run for the next 12 weeks ending on Sunday, August 12, with no decision to be made until after it has reviewed the feedback.

Dr Tracey Lucas, clinical lead at Sunderland CCG, said: “Over the past two years, we have talked to hundreds of local people about urgent care.

“People have told us overwhelmingly that they find the current system confusing and are not always sure where to go to get the care they need.

“Many people have also told us that they find it hard to get an urgent appointment with their GP or feel they have to wait too long.

“Combine this with the latest national guidance and it shows that the current arrangements are not working for patients.

“We want to make it easy and simple to access NHS services wherever you live in Sunderland as part of our vision, achieving ‘Better Health for Sunderland’.

“To do this, we need to make some changes to the current services to make sure people get the right care as quickly as possible.

“We also want to improve access to GP appointments so everyone who needs an urgent appointment can do so quickly.

“We have developed a different way of arranging services and we believe that these changes will make urgent care in Sunderland work better, but we want to hear local people’s views before making any changes.”

WHERE TO HAVE YOUR SAY

A series of consultation events will be held to give people the chance to have their say on the proposals following their launch at Bede Tower in Burdon Road in the city.

There is a printed or online survey available via www.sunderlandccg.nhs.uk and people can get hold of a paper copy by calling (0191) 217 2670.

An online question and answer events will run from Thursday, June 21, from 6.30pm to 7pm and Thursday, June 28, from 6.30pm to 7pm

Nine public discussion events are to be staged, giving people the chance to call in and offer their views.

They are:

* Tuesday, May 15, from 10 to noon at Washington Arts Centre, Biddick Lane, Washington.

* Wednesday, May 23, from 5pm to 7pm, which is a dedicated travel and transport event, which will be held at Bede Tower.

* Thursday, May 24, from noon until 2pm at The Hetton Centre, Welfare Road, Hetton.

* Thursday, June 7, from noon to 2pm at the Enterprise Suite, Hope Street Exchange, 1-3 Hind Street, Sunderland.

* Wednesday, June 13, from 2pm to 4pm at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Enterprise Park East, Wearfield, Sunderland.

* Monday, June 18, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, at Sunderland Bangladeshi International Centre, 30 Tatham Street, Sunderland.

* Saturday, June 23, from 10am to noon at Bede Tower.

* Monday, July 2, from 5pm to 7pm, at The Glebe Centre, Durham Place, Murton.

* Monday, July 16 from 6pm to 8pm, Roberts Lounge, Boldon Community Association, New Road, Boldon Colliery.