We have had extensive discussions and consultation this week with NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group Chairman, Dr Kiran Patel, on the issue of changes to out-of-hours Urgent Care Services in the Borough.
We have thought long and hard about the proposals as we know there has a great deal of concern about the proposed replacement of the Walk-In Centre in Bury.
Ramsbottom residents already know that the Bury Walk-In Centre often has long waiting times, or nursing staff that cannot prescribe prescriptions and that is why change is needed.
The new plan will see an initial telephone triage system introduced.
- Those needing emergency care will be directed to Fairfield A&E as usual.
- Patients needing urgent care will be given an urgent appointment (within 4 hours) at one of 6 local Urgent Care ‘hubs’ that will be set up and run by BARDOC, where patients can be seen face-to-face. One of these is proposed for Ramsbottom – so rather than having to travel to Bury, the good news is that we will have an Urgent Care hub locally.
- Patients with routine issues will be directed back to their GP, a Pharmacist or given a non-urgent appointment at an Urgent Care ‘hub’.
- We understand that there is an issue with patients attending at the Walk-In Centre for dressing changes out-of-hours. We are told that 17% of patients attend the Walk-In Centre for dressings to be changed. As a result, a new wound care service will operate at 5 sites across the Borough – including here in Ramsbottom – which will see many patients seen locally rather than having to wait hours at the Walk-In Centres for dressings to be changed.
- We also understand that GP’s will be placed on the front line at Fairfield Hospital, with a triage service that will free up A&E for those needing emergency care and that is something we support. We are told that between 30% and 50% of those who attend at A&E are not emergencies.
- Many GP practices should now be offering a 7 day service from 8am to 6.30pm. More appointments will be offered at surgeries, so patients with more routine medical issues will be able to access better services at their own GP practice during those hours.
Services in our community
Bury CCG Chairman, Dr Kiran Patel, who is also a GP at Greenmount Medical Centre, believes that this proposal is the best service that they can provide and we are supportive of his moves.
We really welcome services being put back into our community rather than being centralised at a Walk-In Centre in Bury. Why should Ramsbottom residents have to travel to Bury or Prestwich, when they can be given urgent out-of-hours face-to-face appointments much more locally to where we live?
Bury CCG tell us that the number of residents attending Walk-In Centres has gone down over recent years.
They say that 40% of the patients who use the Walk-In Centres could have been treated or given advice by a local pharmacist or by information available over the phone or online at NHS Choices. This is in addition to the 17% attending for dressings changes.
As a result, at present only around 40% attending the Walk-In Centres need urgent (non-emergency) care.
They also say that the £800,000 annual cost of the Walk-In Centres will simply switch over to pay for the new urgent care service including the telephone triage and 6 local ‘hub’ centres.
Bury CCG assure us that this has never been a funding issue, and even if they were to receive extra £millions from the Government, they would still want to change to this system as it offers the best service for patients.
This is a plan that is supported by every professional GP practice in Bury and is going to help every patient in Ramsbottom. They assure us that it will result in a more efficient and better service for patients – who will continue to have face-to-face contact with Doctors and appointments within 4 hours.
So long as we have those assurances, we will support Bury CCG with its plans.
The local Labour Party cynically attack the plans put forward by the hardworking professionals and clinicians running NHS services in Bury – playing politics with our much loved local NHS services.
Labour peddle the myth that the Walk-In Centre will close with no suitable replacement. They alarm residents and push a “Petition” calling for the Walk-In Centre to remain in Bury – yet fail to welcome plans for a local Urgent Care ‘hub’ in Ramsbottom.
They say that the local NHS is underfunded, but the local CCG Chairman has confirmed that the money it receives from central Government has been increasing and that the funding they receive is something they can work with to provide a professional 21st century service to patients.
We would urge everyone locally to back Bury CCG in their plans which appear to be the best for patients.
Ramsbottom residents can give their views on the proposal in a number of ways:
The Bury CCG online survey is available here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2BNQJG5
A paper copy of the survey can be obtained by calling 0161 762 3166 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Views can be sent in via the CCG website feedback facility at http://www.buryccg.nhs.uk/; by e-mail (as above) or by letter to:NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, Communications and Engagement Team (Urgent Care Redesign), 21 Silver Street, Bury, BL9 0EN