Sheffield health bosses plan new urgent care centre for city

The Northern General Hospital
The Northern General Hospital
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Plans are to be drawn up for the creation of a new urgent care centre in Sheffield to help ease the pressure on A&E.

Health bosses are to consider opening the facility at the front of the Accident and Emergency department at the Northern General Hospital.

It is part of a wider shake-up of the way health services are delivered in the city being considered by the NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.

A report going to the organisation’s governing body on Thursday said the move is part of plans to reduce the number of people using over-stretched A&E services, where national targets to treat 95 per cent of patients within four hours are currently not being met.

The report said: “In the immediate term the hub currently based within the GP out-of-hours collaborative at the Northern General Hospital will be moved in front of A&E to improve ease of physical access for patients.

“In the longer term, the development of an urgent primary care centre in front of A&E will be explored.”

It is proposed the new centre would be run by local GPs.

“It is proposed that the centre is clinically led by local GPs ensuring that strong links are maintained with both the Primary Care and Active Support and Recovery programmes.

The report said the plan is part of efforts to ‘reduce the number of people attending A&E who could have been treated more quickly and more locally elsewhere’.

It said the current out-of-hospital urgent care system in Sheffield should be simplified, with GP out-of-hours services, a walk-in service and the 111 helpline among the different schemes in operation.

It said: “It is important to note that patients and clinicians both find that urgent care services out of hospital are confusing, with multiple options and the risk that people choose an inappropriate service.”

The new strategy will promote the 111 number as the ‘main point of entry’ for people seeking urgent care who are unable to contact their GP.

It is intended people who call the number will be directed to the right health service for their needs.

Maddy Ruff, accountable officer for NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “We have fantastic health services in the city, but by working in a more coordinated way and by making changes that help the public use the health services in the best possible way, they could be even better.”