What we are doing
The local NHS had looked at how urgent care services could have been delivered in the future particularly during the overnight period. The service at Peterlee was not well utilised during 12:00am midnight to 8:00am so the NHS thought about how it could be delivered in a different way to best meet the needs of the local population.
What are Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC)?
Urgent Treatment Centres are equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments that the local population attended A&E for. The aim of the UTC was to ease the pressure on our hospitals, allowing them to focus on patients who were seriously ill.
UTCs are GP-led, open at least 12 hours a day, 365 days a year and offer appointments that can be booked through NHS 111 or by a GP.
In County Durham there are four UTCs which are currently based at Peterlee, Bishop Auckland, Shotley Bridge and University Hospital of North Durham. The local NHS is focusing on Peterlee UTC.
We asked to hear from the public and and then carried out engagement between Monday 3rd June 2019 and Monday 1st July 2019. We have spoken to the public across the East Durham area and the dates were issued via social media and on our website.
Looking at the activity for this site there was steady usage across all ages so we launched engagement in areas we believed would capture a wider range of people.
Why are we doing this?
At the time, Peterlee UTC operated 24 hours per day, it was GP-led, and offered appointments that could have been booked through NHS 111 or through a GP referral, with patients attending the site for their appointment.
As the 12:00am midnight – 8:00am period it was not well used by the local population. The CCG recommended that it was replaced by a home visiting model, sending clinicians to care for patients at home out of hours rather than bringing them in to a centre, in addition, offering telephone advice where appropriate.
Mobile Urgent Care clinicians have been equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for just. the same as if people were to attend the UTC.
It had been ensured that services were accessible across the county, using our staff and resources in the best possible way. We believed that there was a real opportunity to use the information we had to develop services according to patient needs.
What this tells us
Midnight to 8:00am on weekdays
From 12:00am midnight to 8:00am during the week, an average of five patients attended Peterlee base with 0.2 patients requiring a home visit. This means 0.6 patients were utilising the service per hour.
Midnight to 8:00am on weekends and bank holidays
From 12:00am midnight to 8:00am at weekends and bank holidays an average of eight patients at Peterlee attended the base with 0.4 patients requiring a home visit. This means one patient was utilising the service per hour.
This was based on averages but illustrated the under utilisation of the resources that were in place.
The home visiting proposal was preferred by clinicians as it provided a flexible service that covered the County as a system, preventing duplication across the geography during the quietest periods and ensured better utilisation of practitioner and GP time. These services were expected to cross cover and work together as one to best meet patient need across the four UTCs.
How the service could look
There was potential to bring services to people in their own home using our highly skilled workforce, more so during the 12am – 8am period. We also knew that transport could have been an issue for people accessing services so we looked at how we could ensure where people do need to be seen in a healthcare facility that they had the appropriate access to patient transport as and when it was required.
We wanted to hear from the public, below are the questions that were asked:
We want to hear from you!
What do you think about these potential changes?
What would be important to you if the 12:00am – 8:00am home visiting service was offered?
What communications would we need to do to reach the public and how?
Would you or your child prefer be seen in your own home if you are poorly at 2am?
If you had access to a health care professional via the telephone to discuss your symptoms and provide advice, do you feel this would be beneficial?
We would really like to hear your views on our proposals via our survey or you can give us your feedback through an online survey:
This conversation has now been closed.