Urgent Care Consultation - Jacqui Evans (Assistant Director - Unplanned Care and Community Care Market Commissioning)
Jacqui Evans, Assistant Director, Unplanned Care and Community Care Market Commissioning, gave an update on plans for urgent care access. It was noted that the consultation was in place to improve access to urgent care for resident of the Wirral as there was a variance across the Wirral in terms of the offer of urgent care such as differing opening hours. The committee was informed that no definitive position had yet been reached and that while the consultation had concluded on 12th December 2018, the information received was being analysed by an independent analysis company and that a report was due back from them by the 3rd week of April 2019. There have also been a number of alternative suggestions from other providers including some primary care federations and those proposals are being considered in detail.
An urgent care stakeholder group had been established since December 2018 that has been meeting monthly to review progress. It was noted that this is considered to be national best practice.
Jacqui Evans noted that the biggest change to the current offer would be an urgent treatment centre being set-up at Arrowe Park hospital. This would be run by GPs and nurses and would help to free up the emergency department.
The Chair stated that currently the Wirral has walk-in centres in Wallasey, Birkenhead and Eastham and they are quite large, this could create a blockage if they are shut.
Jacqui Evans stated that of all the visitors to Arrowe Park Urgent Treatment Centre, 47% could have been treated by a nurse. There have been delays in ambulances being released. She stated that patients would have access to a GP in their local area if they need urgent care that day. The CCG want a consistent offer to all patients.
Councillor Burgess-Joyce asked why the Wirral failed to get funding from NHS England and whether pharmacies are charging the NHS £28 each time they give patients medical advice.
Jacqui Evans explained that NHS England had indicated that Wirral’s funding bid was good but that it was mis-timed and funding had been reduced nationally. She stated that she was not sure of the figure of £28 being charged by pharmacies and would look into it.
Cllr Cox highlighted that communication was a key issue and asked how patients would be informed of where to go for the correct treatment.
Jacqui Evans acknowledged that communication needed to be improved. She stated that the consultation is not about moving all the urgent care to Arrowe Park. They will come back with the best recommendations based on the feedback received. She stated that they had not got communications right in the past and they would be working with councillors and residents on how to best communicate to patients how to best access the correct services.
Cllr Whittingham highlighted that some bus services have been cancelled and asked how this has been taken into account by the review.
Jacqui Evans that there was a regular access working group where they work with transport officers and companies. She stated that some buses had been re-routed to account for the cancelled service.
Cllr Ellis raised problems with waiting times and queried if this would be remedied as part of the service review.
Jacqui Evans stated that the focus of this review is for urgent treatment and that some people are not deemed to be in need of urgent care. Some of the changes would include extended access to GPs with an additional 1080 appointments a week which should see a reduction in waiting times.
The Chair opened questions up to members of the public.
A member of the audience stated that he had asked at the previous meeting if walk in centres would be closed and was told no. He stated that halfway through the consultation the council had voted to scrap it, but the CCG carried on. He claimed it was not acceptable that over 18s have to travel to Arrowe Park.
Jacquie Evans stated that under 18s were part of the consultation and what was described will not definitely happen. She stated there was a lot of feedback that needed to be analysed before a decision was made and that was why they were getting independent help to do this.