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Decision made on improving access to urgent care treatment

A GP-LED Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) is to be established at Tameside Hospital to improve access to urgent care.

Following a 12-week public consultation, NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has also agreed to develop additional access to GP appointments at five Neighbourhood Care Hubs across Tameside and Glossop.

Tameside and Glossop residents were asked to have their say on the way we deliver and improve access to Urgent Care – conditions that need prompt medical help but are not life threatening.

At a meeting on 20 March, the Strategic Commissioning Board (SCB) agreed to approve Option 2, which was the most popular option from the consultation.

The aim is to make our Urgent Care system as simple as possible so that the journey through illness to recovery is clear, easy to access and of a high quality. With an increasing demand on the health and social care system, it’s important to ensure that those who are the sickest and in most need of emergency care receive the quickest treatment.

The decision means the relocation of the Walk-in Service from Ashton Primary Care Centre to a UTC at the site of Tameside Hospital’s A&E. A transport analysis showed that on average 99.8 per cent of Tameside and Glossop residents are less than a thirty minute drive from both sites. Respondents to the consultation felt the hospital site was well-known and easier to access and would avoid unnecessary use of A&E.

The UTC will be open 12 hours a day, every day, and equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments which people experience and that aren’t a life-threatening emergency. Should a patient walk in to the UTC and, on assessment, need more specialist diagnostics e.g. a blood test or an X-ray, they will receive this promptly and without the need to travel to another location.

To increase access to GP care locally, additional appointments will be developed at another two locations to make five Neighbourhood hubs including Ashton Primary Care Centre and Glossop Primary Care Centre. The three other sites are yet to be confirmed but are likely to be in the Denton, Hyde and Stalybridge areas. The rejected option had only three locations.

The plans for a UTC adjacent to the A&E at Tameside Hospital will now progress at pace. It is hoped to have this operational towards the end of 2018.

Alan Dow, Chair of NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation aimed at improving our local Urgent Care services while making sure we can deliver the A&E Streaming Service and Urgent Treatment Centre in an affordable way.

“The decision is fully in line with national expectations and will enable Tameside and Glossop to use the resources available to deliver an excellent service for local people.

Karen James, chief executive of Tameside and Glossop IC NHS FT, said: “Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust fully support this decision to improve access to Urgent Care. A Streaming Service is already in place at A&E on the hospital site and proving effective. Increased access to diagnostics and same day appointments across Tameside and Glossop will relieve pressures on our A&E and ensure staff are able to focus on emergencies and life threatening situation.”

The proposals were developed following engagement with local communities and groups discussing Care Together and the approach to future service provision.