A major review of NHS urgent care in North Tyneside is about to reach its conclusion as local doctors and nurses meet in public to decide on how services should be arranged in the future.

Dr John Matthews, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Over the past year, over 700 people have taken the time to share their views on a range of different scenarios for the future, through everything from roadshowand drop-in events to survey forms and social media.

“As doctors and nurses we have a duty to provide the best possible services, as well as making efficient use of the resources we have available. Throughout this process our focus has been on listening to local people, improving the service, and cutting out duplication to ensure it is affordable in the future.

“Our Governing Body will now consider a recommendation to replace the existing services with a new integrated urgent care service from 1 October 2017. This will improve care by bringing facilities together in one place and offering a 24-hour service for the first time.

“The consultation took place because we recognise that the current system, with multiple services providing similar care in several locations across North Tyneside, is not the best use of resources at a time when the NHS is under increasing pressure.

Earlier this year, the CCG and its partners put forward four alternative scenarios for the future shape of urgent care services:

  • Scenario 1: A single North Tyneside Urgent Care Centre based at North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane)
  • Scenario 2: A single North Tyneside Urgent Care Centre based at Battle Hill
  • Scenario 3: A single North Tyneside Urgent Care Centre based at North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane), supported by locality-based minor ailments services in three other areas (Killingworth, Wallsend, Whitley Bay)
  • Scenario 4: A single North Tyneside Urgent Care Centre based at Battle Hill, supported by locality-based minor ailments services in three other areas (Killingworth, Wallsend, Whitley Bay)

“We received some positive responses to the concept of a 24/7 Urgent Care Centre, as well as a number of issues being raised around things like transport and facilities.” added Dr Matthews. “All this information has been analysed by an independent organisation, and the findings were considered in detail alongside other clinical, financial and legal evidence before the recommendation was put forward.

“Any changes will only take effect when robust plans are in place to ensure that patient care isn’t affected.”

Local doctors and nurses will consider the recommendation at a meeting of the CCG’s Governing Body on Tuesday 25 October at 12 Hedley Court, Orion Business Park North Shields NE29 7ST from 9.15am-10.15am.

Urgent care is any form of medical attention that people need to access quickly, but that is not serious enough to need a visit to A&E. This could include injuries, an illness or medical condition which needs advice from a GP, pharmacist, NHS 111, a walk-in centre or the out-of-hours GP service.

Existing services are provided at Battle Hill walk-in centre, North Tyneside General Hospital, and Shiremoor Paediatric Minor Injuries Unit as well as GP out of hours services.

The consultation process, which got underway early last year, has been independently reviewed by The Consultation Institute and found to be consistent with recognised standards of best practice. All the evidence and papers relating to the consultation process and findings are available at www.northtynesideccg.nhs.uk.