Major changes are being implemented to urgent care provision in North Tyneside with three facilities to be merged into one.
North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been looking at the best way to replace the existing walk-in centres at Battle Hill, North Tyneside General Hospital and Shiremoor Paediatric Minor Injuries Unit.
At their meeting on Tuesday, the governing body agreed to close the three services and merge it into on 24-hour urgent care service – with a decision on the location and provider still to be made.
The new facility will come into effect on October 1, 2017, with the existing services being decommissioned by September 30 next year.
Dr John Matthews, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This is an important step which will improve care by bringing facilities together in one place as a 24-hour service.
“As doctors and nurses we have a duty to provide the best possible services while cutting out duplication and making efficient use of our resources.
“We are grateful to more than 700 people who took the time to share their views on a range of different scenarios for the future, and this has played a big part in shaping our thinking.
“It was important to recognise that the current system, with services providing similar care in several locations, is not the best use of resources at a time when the NHS is under increasing pressure.
“We received some positive responses to the concept of a 24/7 urgent care centre, as well as a number of issues being raised around things like transport and facilities.
“All this information has been analysed by an independent organisation, and the findings were considered in detail alongside other clinical, financial and legal evidence before the recommendation was put forward.
“The next step will be a procurement process with the aim of securing the best possible service and the best possible value for the people of North Tyneside.
“The consultation showed an overall preference for Rake Lane, and this will be considered alongside other factors like quality and value for money when we consider tenders to provide the service.”
Urgent care is any form of medical attention that people need to access quickly but that is not serious enough to need a visit to the Emergency Department (A&E).
This could include injuries, an illness or medical condition which needs advice from a GP, pharmacist, NHS 111, a walk-in centre or the out-of-hours GP service.
Existing services are provided at Battle Hill walk-in centre, North Tyneside General Hospital, and Shiremoor Paediatric Minor Injuries Unit as well as GP out of hours services.
The consultation process, which got underway early last year, has been independently reviewed by The Consultation Institute and found to be consistent with recognised standards of best practice.
All the evidence and papers relating to the consultation process and findings are available at www.northtynesideccg.nhs.uk