A new urgent care service for North Tyneside has been commissioned by NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group and will open at North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane) on 1 October 2018. The new service, which will be led by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will offer GP-led healthcare 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Urgent care services deal with minor injuries and minor ailments and are separate from A&E, which provides emergency care for life-threatening conditions.
Dr Richard Scott, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This is a positive step for patients in North Tyneside. With a range of services working more closely together, the new service will mean patients getting the right care first time as well as better use of NHS resources.
“Urgent care services will continue to be available 24/7 for patients in North Tyneside. The new urgent treatment centre will offer appointments day and night, as well as the option to just walk in during the day.”
The new service will be based at North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane), in line with the overall preference expressed by patients during the consultation process. Patients will be able to book appointments 24/7 as well as having the option to walk in between 8am and midnight.
“This is one of a number of changes making it easier for patients to get the care they need, added Dr Scott. “We have added hundreds of extra GP appointments every week in North Tyneside, including evenings and weekends. The NHS 111 service is also changing, with more clinicians available and the option to get you a GP appointment if that is needed.
“We are asking patients to ‘talk before you walk’ – by calling NHS 111 you can book an appointment, save yourself the hassle and help the NHS work more smoothly too.
“People have told us that urgent care is confusing and they want something simple. Now we will have a system with more GP extended access appointments, a 24/7 bookable urgent care service and the option to walk in from 8am to midnight.
“If you need urgent care, day or night, it will be there for you.”
These changes will replace the current urgent care centres at Battle Hill and North Tyneside General Hospital from 1 October 2018. A&E services at the RVI (Royal Victoria Infirmary) and the Northumbria hospital are not affected by these changes.
Anyone with a medical emergency should dial 999 or attend A&E at the RVI in Newcastle or the Northumbria hospital in Cramlington. The Northumbria hospital is for serious injuries and potentially life-threatening emergencies only, and from 1 October any patients presenting with minor illnesses will be referred back to the urgent care service in North Tyneside or to a North Tyneside GP practice.
The announcement follows a four-week engagement exercise last year and an earlier consultation process in which the CCG presented its plans and listened to views from local people. Following patient feedback, the CCG agreed to keep the walk-in service open until midnight, rather than 10pm as previously proposed.