Views sought about urgent and emergency care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

People across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being encouraged to talk about their experiences of urgent and emergency care.

Clinicians in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are restarting work to transform urgent and emergency care services – which include emergency departments (A&E), minor injuries units and walk-in centres – and want to hear about people’s experiences since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

This work will help inform the development of new urgent treatment centres in the county, and is one part of a bigger piece of work to ensure health and care services meet the needs of local people now and in the future, and make the best use of the resources available.

The aim is to create a network of urgent and emergency care services that meet the needs of local people and are easy to understand. This is a national mandate across England, but we want to make sure that we are designing the services based on the needs of people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Dr Steve Fawcett, Clinical Lead for the Urgent and Emergency Care Programme, said: “We know from listening to local people that we have a patchwork of services, with different opening times and services available. This often confuses people, who are unsure where and when to go for help.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has also meant we have had to work differently, including social distancing in our waiting rooms, using new technology and maximising the use of our workforce. These challenges and innovations are still with us, but now is the right time for us to learn any lessons and understand people’s experiences as we seek to develop long-term solutions.”

The conversation was started in 2019, with a listening exercise involving more than 2,000 people. The pandemic forced a pause in the discussion, but clinicians are keen to restart the conversation to help people get the care they need in the right healthcare setting.

Dr Fawcett added: “These urgent treatment centres would offer more services and treat more complex cases than our current walk-in centres and minor injuries units. Opening times and the services available within the urgent treatment centres would be simpler and more consistent, meaning patients will get the treatment they need at the most appropriate location without having to wait unnecessarily while emergency patients are prioritised at our emergency departments.

“Urgent treatment centres cannot work alone, so we need to develop a range of services that ‘wrap around’ them, offering the right level of support. We need to design a whole-system approach, which connects all our services, so they work together as a network. This includes an enhanced community urgent care offer, which helps people to access urgent care at a local level.”

People can get involved in this latest phase of involvement, by completing an online survey or by attending a virtual event held on:

  • Tuesday 5 October, 1.30pm to 3.30pm
  • Wednesday 6 October, 6.30pm to 8.30pm
  • Wednesday 13 October, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

More information and a registration form for the events are available online. The survey will close at midnight on 31 October 2021. If you need any help in completing the survey, you can phone 0333 150 2155.

The comments we get from this phase of involvement will be analysed and help clinicians and managers to develop proposals for future services. No decisions have yet been taken, as more work is needed to design our local approach. As proposals are developed over the coming months, we will seek to involve people before any final decisions are taken.