Review of urgent care services in south Sefton

From 10 December 2018 to 31 January 2019 we are encouraging as many people as possible to tell us their views and experiences of current urgent care services for physical and mental health problems.

It is part of NHS South Sefton CCG’s review of urgent care for adults and children to help shape future services so they better meet the needs of people living in the area.

The exercise will build on what residents have already told us about urgent care services during many of our recent engagement exercises. Reoccurring themes include confusion about which service to use and when, and getting access to timely primary care appointments.

What is urgent care? 

Urgent care describes a wide range of services that people need to access immediately or on the same day – from self care support available at the pharmacy, through to accident and emergency care for life threatening conditions. GP services, pharmacies, NHS 111, walk in centres and emergency ambulances are all also part of our current urgent care system. Find out more in the facts and figures section below.

About our review

We want all our residents to benefit from the right care in the right place, first time – our urgent care review will help us decide how best to do this. We will use the findings of our review to help design future services that are less confusing for residents, reduce pressures on A&E and make the best use of staff and resources.

You can read the urgent care review leaflet here.

Services that are part of the review…

• GP services, including regular same day appointments at GP practices, new evening and weekend non urgent routine appointments introduced in October 2018 and the GP out of hours service you access by calling NHS 111
• Walk-in centres (but not other clinics that often run in the same buildings, such as blood testing)
• Accident and emergency (A&E) departments for adults, children and young people
• Emergency ambulance services – 999
• NHS 111 telephone line and online service www.111.nhs.uk and the way they work with other local urgent care services
• Pharmacy services, including their role in urgent care and why people choose and use them

Here are some of the reasons why we are carrying out this review:

To make it easier for people to access the right urgent care service at the right time - There are lots of different urgent care options, which we know can be confusing. Sometimes when people don’t know which service to choose they use accident and emergency, which puts extra pressure on hospitals, and means that people might have to wait longer for their treatment. It can also be difficult to find support for urgent mental health issues.

To reduce pressure on accident and emergency (A&E) - There is a national NHS standard which says that at least 95% of patients who attend A&E should either be admitted to hospital, transferred to another care provider or discharged within four hours. Like many other areas, we aren’t meeting this standard – during 2017-18 we only reached 83.1%. Making sure people can access other types of care which meet their needs, rather than A&E, would help hospitals focus on those who need to be treated there.

To make the best use of staff and financial resources - Doctors, nurses and other health professionals are in high demand, and we need to organise our NHS services in a way that makes the best use of their skills. This means making sure that patients see the right health care professional for their specific need – and where possible that this happens the first time they seek help. This should give people a better experience of care, and help make the most of NHS resources.

To take new NHS guidance into account - There is new guidance for urgent care services, put in place by NHS England. This includes a service called ‘Urgent Treatment Centres’. The next step is for CCGs, who are responsible for planning local services, to look at current services against the national guidelines and develop plans for what this might mean for their area. Where there is a proposal to make changes to services, plans would be subject to public consultation. There is more information about national plans for urgent care on the NHS England website.

How you can take part

Tell us about your views and experiences of using these services by completing our online questionnaire.

Healthwatch Sefton is helping us to make the questionnaire available to anyone who may find it difficult to take part online. So, for help to complete a questionnaire, request a paper version, or for another format call Freephone: 0800 206 1304, email: info@healthwatchsefton.co.uk or text: 07434 810 438.

Facts and figures

The tables and information below shows how many south Sefton residents used some of our most important urgent care services in 2017-2018.

Walk in centres

Accident and emergency

NHS 111

People in south Sefton made 24,704 calls to NHS 111 between April 2017 and March 2018.