“If you need urgent care, day or night, it will be there for you.”
NHS leaders have moved to reassure patients in North Tyneside that urgent care services will continue to be available 24/7 to anyone who needs them. Urgent care services provide care for minor injuries and minor ailments and are separate from A&E which provides emergency care for people with life-threatening conditions.
Dr John Matthews, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “It’s been a great help to us that so many people have shared their views and ideas about urgent care over the past few weeks.
“While this feedback is important to us, many patients will be worried by misleading rumours and comments they are hearing, and I want to set the record straight today.
“Urgent care services will continue to be available 24/7 for patients in North Tyneside, both now and after the new urgent treatment centre opens next October.
“If you need urgent care, day or night, it will be there for you. After October, the new urgent treatment centre will offer appointments day and night, as well as the option to just walk in during the day.
“Only a handful of people access urgent care at night, for minor injuries or illnesses, but we are absolutely clear that their needs will still be met. This could be through a home visit or contact at a local centre, depending on an assessment of the person’s needs.”
Dr Matthews’ comments follow a four-week engagement exercise in which the CCG presented its plans to local people and listened to views from over 600 participants. This followed an earlier three-month consultation process.
The CCG reviewed the findings and agreed plans for the future – including changes based on patients’ feedback. These included extending walk-in hours from the proposed 10pm to midnight, in line with current services.
“People in North Tyneside will continue to have their urgent care needs met, to the same high standard of care as patients in neighbouring areas. Services may be arranged in different way to reflect the differences – for example between urban and rural areas – but patients will receive a high quality, timely service when they need it.
“We will now invite providers to put themselves forward to run the service. This is standard practice in the NHS, and we will follow these processes in the normal way. No decisions have been made about which provider will run the new service.
“A lot of the patients we’ve been talking to have heard completely unfounded rumours about the future of Rake Lane hospital itself. As a CCG we invest millions in Rake Lane every year, and we fully expect it to provide a wide range of healthcare services for the people of North Tyneside in the future.”
A&E services are not affected by these changes. Anyone with a medical emergency should dial 999 or attend A&E at Cramlington or the RVI. If you are not sure which service to use, it’s best to call NHS 111, who can direct you to the right service and arrange transport if this is clinically appropriate.
The current urgent care services at Battle Hill Health Centre and Rake Lane will continue to operate on their current basis until they are replaced by the new service in October 2018.