Urgent care is a term that describes the range of services provided for people who require same day health or social care advice, care or treatment. This is different from emergency care provided in accident and emergency (A&E), other hospital departments, 999 and ambulances, which are set up to respond to serious or life-threatening emergencies.
There is a national initiative to simplify access to urgent care services which is being delivered alongside improvements in the access to and availability of primary care services. CCGs in East Sussex are in the process of considering the best way to deliver these changes to maximise the positive impact for their patient populations. To get this right and ensure consistency and clarity of services it is important that the CCGs consider the impact across the whole of the STP footprint, covering the eight Sussex and East Surrey CCGs.
Hastings & Rother and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford clinical commissioning group (CCGs) are planning to develop Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) that will be open 24/7 at the two main hospitals, Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest in Hastings, by 1 April 2019. These UTCs will enable patients who attend the hospitals with a minor injury or illness, and whose needs can be met by a GP or primary care clinician, to have timely access to these services without having to wait to be seen in A&E. Their proposed plans to develop UTCs involve moving walk-in services from their current town centre locations in Hastings and Eastbourne to the two hospital sites. This will give people better access to a wider range of clinicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as being able to have a broad range of simple diagnostic tests such as blood tests and x-rays if needed.
High Weald Lewes Havens CCG are still in the planning stage for their URC developments so do not yet have many details that can share. However, work has been taking place at Lewes Victoria Hospital, around staff training and building work, to prepare for it to potentially become an Urgent Treatment Centre and meet the new national standard for urgent care provision. The CCG has carried out some public engagement around these plans, including at their recent Big Health and Care Conversation. When the CCG can confirm how this sits within the wider networked model of urgent care, they will communicate what this will mean for the local population and the improved access to care that will be enabled.