Plans to close Peterlee Urgent Treatment Centre overnight set to be approved this month
Plans to shut down overnight services at Peterlee Urgent Treatment Centre are due to be approved later this month.
A ‘home visiting’ service will replace the system currently in place between midnight – 8am.
The decision is expected to be given the green light when the Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield (DDES) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) meets on Tuesday, September 24.
It follows a four-week survey of patients who have used the current nighttime service at Peterlee Community Hospital which NHS bosses said showed low patient numbers.
Dr Neil O’Brien, Chief Clinical Officer for Durham and Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The proposal is aimed at providing a better all-round service for patients, who will receive a home visit between 12am and 8am should they require urgent care. This is arranged by the patient calling NHS 111.
“We want to be clear that the service is not closing.
“The Peterlee Urgent Treatment Centre building will only be closed between the hours of midnight and 8am but the service will still be available to patients by a home visiting service.
“This means a clinician would come out to see the patient in their home instead of the patient travelling to the Peterlee UTC between the hours of midnight and 8am.
“Any new delivery model would be reviewed on an ongoing basis with a particular focus after three and six months.”
Dr O’Brian’s latest statement comes after a meeting of Durham County Council’s Adults, Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on September 6, which got an update on progress on the plans.
In April the panel had expressed concerns over whether the controversial 111 telephone service would be able to manage the changes properly.
According to a report prepared for that meeting, fewer than five patients were seen by staff from Peterlee during the week between midnight - 8am.
This rose slightly on weekends, to about eight, but was still about half the numbers seen at other urgent treatment centres at University Hospital North Durham and Bishop Auckland.
A survey showed 56% of patients using the centre overnight were walk-ins, while the remaining 44% booked through NHS111.