NHS moves to extend North Tyneside urgent care arrangements

Mon 31st July 2017

NHS leaders in North Tyneside have moved to extend current arrangements for urgent care in the borough, while detailed plans for future services are completed.

NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is led by local doctors and nurses, has been working to review urgent care services over the past two years. Urgent care covers any healthcare need which needs immediate attention, but is not serious enough to require an A&E visit.

In North Tyneside, urgent care services are currently provided at North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane), Battle Hill Health Centre and through an out-of-hours GP service.

Dr John Matthews, a local GP and Chair of NHS North Tyneside CCG, said: “We have been clear from the start that we cannot continue with urgent care services in their current form – as the existing services are confusing, overlap with one another and do not make best use of funds – and that we will ensure the right level of service for our communities’ needs.

“Earlier this year we started a formal process to secure a new provider, who would deliver a single, 24/7 urgent care service for the whole of North Tyneside from October.

“During discussions with the preferred provider identified through this process, it became clear that they are not in a position to deliver the full service in terms of the specification, cost and location.

“During this process, we also received a legal challenge from Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust, one of the current providers of urgent care services in the borough. This situation has now been resolved and the legal challenge is no longer active.

“The current arrangements are now being extended while the CCG reviews all future options for urgent care. Patients can continue to use local services in the usual way, and we will make a further announcement in the next few months.

“We remain committed to finding a more efficient way to provide urgent care services for the future. As local doctors and nurses, our priority is always to provide the best possible services for our patients.

“At the same time, we are continuing our work to make it easier for patients to see a GP, with a new extended hours scheme offering more appointments within the next few months.”

Existing urgent care services in North Tyneside will continue for a minimum additional period of six months to the end of March 2018.  This means that current services in place at North Tyneside General Hospital (Rake Lane), Battle Hill Health Centre and through an out-of-hours GP service, will continue.

The recent public consultation showed an overall preference among patients for North Tyneside General Hospital as the location for a new single, 24/7 integrated service for the whole of North Tyneside. This will be one of the factors that are considered in determining the best location for the future service.