Minor injuries unit to remain open 24 hours a day under rethink

A round the clock urgent care centre will remain open after patients called for the service to continue.

Wednesday, 14th September 2016, 11:16 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:31 pm
Peterlee Community Hospital.

Consultation was launched to gather views on the future of services across East Durham as health chiefs looked at coping with its stretched resources.

A series of proposals were drafted up, including cutting Peterlee’s urgent care centre down to 12 hours a day.

But after calls from residents, NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (DDES CCG) has approved the option backed by most of those who joined in the consultation over the future of Healthworks in Easington Colliery, Seaham Primary Care Centre and Peterlee Community Hospital, as well as Bishop Auckland General Hospital.

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Urgent care covers a range of services to those in need of urgent advice, diagnosis and treatment quickly and unexpectedly, but not life-threatening conditions or injuries.

The aim of the effort was to simplify access to the services, which handled 200,000 patients during 2014/15, and without adding pressure to A&Es.

The project also consulted on day time urgent care, which runs from 8am to 8pm.

The option - third in a list - was backed by 80% of residents consulted and has been approved by the trust’s governing body.

It will see the retention of Peterlee’s minor injury units for 24 hours a day, along with Bishop Auckland’s, keep the number of out-of-hours services, extended GP opening times in hub arrangements and enhanced GP services to manage demand for minor ailments and urgent requests during the day.

Two other options suggested running the minor injury units for 12 hours a day.

The DDES CCG says it will provide an improved service to meet the urgent care needs resulting in some changes to service.

These include GP out of hours services remaining the same and being provided from Bishop Auckland and Peterlee Community Hospital as they are now.

There will be changes to GP services including extended GP services from 6pm to 8pm weekdays as well as partial weekend provision on a Saturday and Sunday

Enhanced availability of same day urgent appointments with GP practices will see practices working together from common single sites to serve larger populations, extended and enhanced GP services for some areas in DDES – these will be known as ‘Hubs’.

The preferred option chosen by the public following consultation was to base these hubs in towns including Peterlee, Seaham and Easington.

A spokesman said: “We believe these changes to services will provide care closer to home for our patients providing at least five more sites than we currently provide, improve the patient journey and provide better clinical outcomes for the patient.”

The changes will be implemented from April 1.