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Overnight urgent care to return to Northumberland hospitals

Posted on 28/09/2017 by

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Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust’s urgent care centres at Hexham and Wansbeck general hospitals will return to 24-hour opening

Overnight emergency care services are set to return to two North East hospitals next month, health leaders have announced.

Urgent care centres at Hexham and Wansbeck general hospitals will return to 24-hour opening from Monday, October 30.

The move comes 10 months after the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced it was cutting overnight at its urgent care centres in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck as an “essential temporary measure” during the winter months.

Instead the opening times have been 8am to midnight, seven days a week, with staff redeployed to the Northumbria Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington.

The arrangements were extended in March and June as the trust said demand continued to be high.

Now trust bosses have announced that 24-hour care will be reinstated at the two Northumberland hospitals as of October 30.

But the revised opening hours of 8am to midnight will remain in place at North Tyneside as plans for a new 24-hour facility continue to be reviewed.

North Tyneside CCG concluded last year after a major review into urgent care services that walk-in centres at Battle Hill, North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane) and Shiremoor should be closed and replaced with a single site.

After a consultation, Rake Lane was decided as the preferred location for the new service.

Urgent care covers any healthcare need which needs immediate attention, but is not serious enough to require an A&E visit.

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Like the rest of the NHS, we are once again preparing for an extremely busy time this winter and fully endorse the NHS recommendation to call 111 before visiting any of our urgent care centres or our emergency department.

“Calling 111, which is free and available 24/7, is the best way to get the treatment you need in the quickest way and will also include access to urgent GP appointments this winter.

“It is vital that The Northumbria hospital in Cramlington is kept free for serious emergencies only and we have worked hard to re-open our urgent care centres overnight for conditions which are not life-threatening but need an urgent response. We hope this news will be welcomed by patients.”

On the latest situation with North Tyneside, Dr John Matthews, a local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Earlier this year we started the process of selecting a provider to operate a new urgent care centre for North Tyneside, but decided to pause and consider our options, as no provider was in a position to deliver the service at the level we had specified.

“The need for change has not gone away, and we will make a further announcement in due course. In the meantime, it would not make sense for us to make changes to the service while we are considering the options and we have extended existing contracts to ensure stability of urgent care services in North Tyneside.”

Source: ChronicleLive