Health bosses in Sheffield hope to reduce the numbers of people going to A&E by 20 per cent over the next five years.
The target is one of the key aims of the Sheffield 2020 Vision, which is being drawn up by Sheffield’s NHS organisations and the council.
Around one in 10 visits to A&E in the city are currently believed to be unnecessary, while health leaders want to introduce more community services to help tackle growing demand.
A recent audit by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group found around 11 per cent of adults and 40 per cent of children who use urgent care services in Sheffield could actually be treated by GPs.
The review follows ‘unprecedented demand’ on the city’s A&E services this winter, which saw the Red Cross called in to help with transporting patients to and from hospital.
Other key aims of the vision, which is currently out to public consultation, include cutting hospital outpatients attendances through more local specialist diagnosis and management of health problems.
It is also hoped the plan can reduce the gaps in life expectancy in the city and promote the development of specialist services in Sheffield to provide care to people from across South Yorkshire
Dr Tim Moorhead, GP and chairman of NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “The NHS and social care needs to change how we work if we are to continue to meet people’s needs in Sheffield.
“Similar to across the country, Sheffield has an ageing population and is seeing a rise in long-term conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.
“There is also less money, due to the expected continued reduction in funding for councils, and the increasing cost of providing care. If we don’t do something soon cost is likely to exceed income significantly in the not so distant future. This is why it is important that we start to make changes now to ensure we have a system fit for future demand.”
Dr StJohn Livesey, Sheffield GP and the CCG’s Clinical Director for Urgent Care, said: “Our aim to reduce the need for A&E attendance and emergency admissions is about helping people to stay well, and when they do need healthcare, having the appropriate healthcare services in the community, closer to people’s homes, and only going to A&E when they really need to.
“We find that in Sheffield most people generally use the A&E system appropriately. However, more healthcare services need to be available in the community so that people can be treated in their own homes, or closer to home, going to hospital if it is only the hospital that can treat the patient.
“We have already started to make changes to improve the system and will continue to do so as part of the urgent care review and the CCG’s overall vision for what health and social care should look like in the next five years.”
A series of public events to discuss the plan are being held over the next couple of months.
The next one will be held at The Circle on Rockingham Lane on August 12 between 10am and noon.
There will be a further meeting at the Northern General Hospital on September 4 and another event at The Circle on September 16.