NHS says thank you for response to Urgent Treatment Centre listening exercise

Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2023 12:13 PM

NHS says thank you for response to Urgent Treatment Centre listening exercise

More than 1,900 Newark residents and stakeholders shared their views and experiences in a listening exercise about future opening hours of Newark Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and experience of out of hours urgent care services.

Their views were gathered by NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire through a series of public meetings and group discussions, a survey and online comments during September and October this year.

Newark UTC is run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (SFH) and provides urgent care and non-life-threatening treatment for injuries or conditions, such as cuts, simple broken bones, wounds, minor burns and minor head, eye and back injuries.

This is different to emergency care, which is for life-threatening illnesses such as heart attacks, strokes or serious accidents needing immediate treatment from the ambulance service (via 999) and A&E.

The current opening hours – 9am to 10pm (last appointment 9.30pm) seven days a week – have been in place since the pandemic began in March 2020 and exceed the 12-hour minimum national standard for UTCs set by NHS England.

Prior to the pandemic, the UTC was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, it was often closed overnight at short notice due to lack of staff availability. Typically, when the UTC was open overnight, it would treat, on average, less than one patient per hour between 10pm and 7am, compared to between 4 and 6 patients per hour during the daytime.

East Midlands Clinical Senate

The feedback from the listening exercise is being considered alongside the recommendations from an independent review of the UTC by medical experts from East Midlands Clinical Senate and a detailed options appraisal.

Clinical Senates help organisations like NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, which plans and buys healthcare services, to make the best decisions for the people who use those services.

Recommendations in the Clinical Senate report include:

  • The UTC should close permanently overnight and opening times should be based on activity levels and available staffing to ensure good use of resources.
  • More work should be done to raise awareness about the UTC and the wide range of other NHS services available across the healthcare system in Newark.

The public survey

In response to the public survey:

  • 70.5% of people disagreed or strongly disagreed that the current opening hours are suitable.
  • Most people said they would like Newark UTC to be open 24 hours and/or for an Accident and Emergency Department to be based at Newark.
  • The responses provided no consensus of views on whether the opening hours could be spread across the day differently.

Victoria McGregor-Riley, Commissioning Delivery Director at NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who took part in our listening exercise. The passion that local people have for their hospital and NHS services was palpable and it was brilliant to hear so much positive feedback about staff, along with some aspects we know we need to improve.

“We are committed to providing high quality, sustainable services to the Newark population and supporting SFH’s vision that Newark Hospital is a valued and vibrant community asset for Newark. This is demonstrated through substantial recent, on-going, and future planned investment in new services at Newark Hospital, including a new state-of-the-art operating theatre which opened in November.

“Providing certainty to the people of Newark about the service they can expect from the UTC is vitally important and we remain steadfastly committed to retaining a service which, at the very least, meets the minimum 12-hour standard for UTCs set by NHS England.

“We have collected a large amount of evidence and public feedback on the UTC which will be discussed with a number of external organisations over the coming weeks, and we anticipate we will be in a position to agree the best way forward in the new year.”

An independently facilitated options appraisal process, which examined all possible clinical configurations for delivering the service safely, has also been undertaken and will be considered alongside the feedback from the listening exercise and Clinical Senate. NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire will update county councillors on the latest position at their Health Scrutiny Committee on 12 December and hold discussions with NHS England in the coming weeks.

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