The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities which gave Members an update in relation to the current projects/areas of work associated with improvements in Urgent Care.
The Board also received a presentation from Mr Simon Wright, Chief Operating Officer/Deputy Chief Executive of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in respect of the progress towards the development of Urgent Care Centres in Runcorn and Widnes.
The Board was advised that demand on NHS hospital resources had increased dramatically over the past 10 years, with a 35% increase in emergency hospital admissions and a 65% increase in secondary care episodes for those over 75 years.
It was reported that the Governance Structure associated with the Urgent Care system in Halton was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. It was reported that the Urgent Care agenda was a complex and challenging, which required high quality and accessible primary, community and social care services to be in place to provide alternatives to A&E attendance and admittance to hospital for the local population. The Board noted the local activity in Halton in respect of NHS services set out in paragraph 3.9 of the report. The Board also noted the areas that were improving but were presenting a challenge and the areas that remained a significant challenge.
The Board discussed and noted the local developments currently having an impact on the urgent care system within Halton, set out in paragraphs 3.17 to 3.23 of the report.
The following points arose from the presentation:-
· The Board welcomed the proposals as it would reduce the number of people attending A&E as they could be treated locally;
· Clarity was sought on the timetable for phase two of the project and whether it would result in patients attending the Urgent Care Centres rather than their GPs. In response, it was reported that some people would use the Centre rather than their GP but this would release time for GPs to develop other services which they are currently unable to do because of time constraints. It was reported that there were no formal timelines for Phase 2 of the project. However, it was anticipated that Phase 2 would be completed by summer 2015;
· Concern was raised that on the following points in relation to the building in Widnes; access was limited; there was already a massive car parking issue and increased usage of the building would exacerbate this issue; the lift was not suitable for wheelchair access and because of the design of the building it was very cold in the winter. In response, it was reported that 175 car parking spaces would be made available across from the Unit. Patients would be encouraged to part at the unit and staff on the car park which would also create additional parking for patients The situation was being monitored and it was anticipated that it would eventually alleviate parking problems in that area. It was also reported that the ground floor services would be moved to the first floor during the refurbishment and this would minimise the impact on services currently operating from the building. It was also noted that the second floor space in Widnes would be utilised for care services rather than office space;
· It was agreed that a copy of the Plans would be circulated to Members of the Board;
· It was noted that the opening times had not been confirmed as yet, but it was anticipated that the Centre’s would be open until 10 pm and consideration was being given to open 24 hours a day, for some services. The out of hours services was currently being considered and when the details had been finalised they would be reported back to the Members; and
· The Board welcomed the anti natal services that would be available in the Centres enabling children to be born in the Borough.
(1) The report, presentation and comments raised be noted; and
(2) Mr Simon Wright be thanked for his informative presentation,