Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire patients receive treatment from new Urgent Care Centre and GP Out-of-Hours support through new contract

Patients in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are receiving treatment from a new Urgent Care Centre situated in the Emergency Department at Royal Stoke University Hospital as part of a new integrated urgent care model launched last month.

Initially, the service operates from the current space within the Emergency Department, but building work will commence shortly to reconfigure the area to develop a purpose built Urgent Care Centre.

Vocare, a national specialist provider of urgent healthcare services to nine million people across the country, which is known locally as Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC), has been appointed to run the Urgent Care Centre in addition to continuing to provide an enhanced GP Out of Hours Service outside normal working hours.

The Urgent Care Centre is available 24/7 to assist the Emergency Department to treat urgent and emergency problems that can be seen by a GP.

Dr Fawcett, Medical Director for both Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire CCGs said: “Many people who arrive at the Emergency Department need to see someone urgently but do not need to be seen by the ED Team. When their condition can be dealt with by a GP at the new Urgent Care Centre, this will cut their waiting time while easing pressure on the life-or-death services provided by the ED.

“SDUC has become well established throughout Staffordshire, having built up strong relationships locally and employing over 550 GPs, nurses and support staff in the area. As the incumbent provider of our NHS111 service locally, they are ideally placed to deliver more integrated services for patients including direct booking of appointments. This new deal will provide continuity of care for patients while also offering additional and innovative new models of care.”

Joanne Bushell, Regional Director of Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care said, “Our approach to service delivery is one of collaboration and flexibility. Over the years we have learned a lot about the needs of the local population giving us a significant understanding of the existing challenges in the health economy. We have proposed solutions within the framework of this new contract that offer patients more choice around how they access care which will help to improve outcomes for patients.”

The new contract will include SDUC undertaking a series of pilots that will include initiatives to help patients in outlying areas access services more easily.

She continues: “For example, we are developing a network of community pharmacies that will offer private consultation rooms where our out-of-hours teams can undertake clinical appointments via e-consultation. Our teams will also offer advice and support to pharmacists who already see walk in patients.”

Guidance for patients

Patients who need to see a GP when their own surgery is closed should continue to call NHS 111 who will assess if a face to face appointment is required. If an appointment is needed the patient will be offered it at one of two new locations:

Staffordshire House, Campbell Road, Stoke; or
Haywood Hospital, High Lane, Burslem.

Services will be operational at the above locations between the following hours:

Monday – Friday 18:30 – midnight
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 08:00 – midnight.

The service will also offer patients a telephone consultation/ advice service with a clinician (doctor or nurse) or a home visit dependent upon clinical need.