Posted by John Stephen at 04/09/2017 13:36:49
People in west Kent are invited to attend a public meeting in Tunbridge Wells on 19 September to discuss exciting plans to enhance urgent care in west Kent.
The meeting, from 6-9pm at The Camden Centre, Market Square, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2SW, will hear about plans for NHS 111 and for new Urgent Treatment Centres including at Tunbridge Wells Hospital, and about plans to improve local care. Booking is necessary: please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to attend.
Along with real improvements to the NHS 111 phone line, there is a new approach for people who attend A&E when it is urgent but not an emergency, so they can be seen by GPs or nurses, and emergencies can be dealt with faster by consultants and their teams.
New Urgent Treatment Centres will be created alongside the A&Es (now known as Emergency Departments) at Maidstone Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
At the Urgent Treatment Centres, which will be open round-the-clock, and will be led by GPs:
- GPs and nurses, including emergency nurses, will see and treat all patients who do not need to go through to A&E
- Mental health workers will assess people with a mental health need
- Social care workers and therapists will be part of the team, offering advice and support to patients
- There will be improved facilities for the assessment and treatment of both children and frail patients.
The Urgent Treatment Centres will work very closely with the hospitals and GP practices. Clinicians in the urgent treatment centres will have access to patients’ medical records (if they give consent.)
Building work on the Urgent Treatment Centres is due to start later this year at both hospitals, thanks to £645,000 of NHS England funding.
To support the development of the new urgent treatment centres, the current out of hours GP services at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital, Sevenoaks Hospital and Cranbrook are being reviewed.
It is proposed to relocate them from their current bases to the two main hospital sites at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, where better facilities exist.
The relocation of the current out of hours bases will be in a phased approach, starting with Tonbridge Cottage Hospital by 30 September 2017, followed by Cranbrook, with Sevenoaks anticipated to be re-located by 1 April 2019.
The out of hours bases are used by people who are referred by NHS 111 for a GP appointment when their practice is closed.
Meanwhile, plans are also being developed to enable access to GP care in every part of west Kent between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday by March 2019, with weekend slots at times to be decided.
Dr Mark Whistler, urgent care lead for NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “When patients ring NHS111 in future, GPs, pharmacists, dentists and more nurses, including Emergency Nurse Practitioners, will be on hand to deal with their enquiries so many more people can get the advice they need first time.
“We are also delighted about the Urgent Treatment Centres which are a really exciting development for people in west Kent and will make a big difference to patient care.
“For a long time we have known that significant numbers of people come to A&E when they don’t have a strict medical need to do so, because they don’t know what else to do or want the reassurance of being seen at the hospital.
“Once the Urgent Treatment Centres are open, patients who come to the hospital but need to see a nurse or GP, will do so. Then, if it turns out their case is more serious than it might appear, they can be swiftly moved into A&E, where the consultant-led teams will take care of them.
“Meanwhile, A&E teams will be able to concentrate on those patients who need the specialist care only they can provide.”
The meeting, run by NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), with colleagues from social care, community health, mental health, and public health, will also hear about developments in local care, to provide better access to care and support in people’s own communities.
These focus on strengthening general practice and overcoming barriers between health and care services so staff from different organisations can work together as a team to provide good care for patients and cope with rising demand.
“There’s a lot of stuff in the media about the NHS being in crisis,” said Dr Bob Bowes, Chair of NHS West Kent CCG, the GP-led body that has responsibility for buying all the healthcare services for the area.
“But actually the changes that are necessary in the NHS will be good for people. There are technological advances that we are embracing, new ways of doing things that will save time for patients and staff, and benefits to be had from joining things up in a way that they haven’t been before. I would urge people to please make the time to come and tell us what they think of our plans.”