Proposals for improving local urgent and emergency care services

Date: 23 Oct 2014

Category: Statements

Our statement: 

Dr Ann Sephton, our Deputy Clinical Chair and Lead for Emergency and Urgent Care and Community Health Services, said:

"Our Governing Body met yesterday (October 22) to consider proposals for improving local urgent and emergency care services.

Patients and the public have told us they want better access to their GP and they want access to urgent care services in the community.

Since the start of the year we have been examining the best way to provide urgent care services in South Gloucestershire to meet the needs of the whole population, closer to where they live.

Proposals agreed at yesterday’s meeting include piloting minor injury services in some local GP surgeries – to establish the feasibility of this approach and to gather feedback from patients about how the services work for them.

We also know from the experience across the country and locally with the minor injuries unit at Yate that many of the people attending do not require treatment – over half of attendances needed advice and guidance only.

In common with other parts of the country, we are looking at whether enhancing the provision and capacity for urgent care, including minor injuries services, in GP surgeries could fulfil these requirements.

We are planning to pilot a scheme which will increase the availability of same day appointments at GP surgeries for urgent care needs, including for minor injuries.

As part of the pilots will we engage with patients and local people to gather feedback about how these services have worked and we will assess the clinical and cost effectiveness of this approach.

If this approach works well, the services provided by a minor injuries unit (MIU) would be available for patients through their GP surgery. In the circumstances the Governing Body agreed a recommendation that a decision on whether to go ahead with previous plans for an MIU at Cossham Hospital will be made later in 2015 once we have tested this alternative approach.

We are not ruling out a minor injuries unit at Cossham Hospital at this stage, a decision will be made once the proposed pilot schemes have been implemented and assessed.

We understand local people in Kingswood will feel frustrated by the delay in the decision but we need to be sure that the services we commission for South Gloucestershire are sustainable in the long term and that they benefit the greatest number of patients.

We have a duty at the CCG to provide high quality services that are accessible to all 266,000 residents living in South Gloucestershire and viewing plans for an MIU in isolation of these wider considerations would not be in the clinical interests of the whole population.”

Key facts:

  • During the last 10 years substantial investment has been made to provide high quality urgent and emergency care services at our local acute hospitals, including the specialist centre for stroke at Southmead Hospital, the specialist centre for heart disease at Bristol Heart Institute, the local and regional specialist centre for adult trauma at Southmead Hospital and the local and specialist centre for children’s trauma at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
  • Every day these services successfully see and treat thousands of people, but during the last decade the number using these services has risen steadily and our urgent care services are now under significant and sustained pressure. Therefore we need to take steps to improve the way our local urgent and emergency care services work if we are to provide high quality and sustainable urgent and emergency care in the future.
  • MIUs generally deal with conditions like minor burns, broken bones, animal bites, new sporting injuries, and lacerations requiring stitching.
  • When MIUs were initially developed a decade ago, it was envisaged that they would reduce the number of attendances at A&E departments but both nationally and locally this has not been the case.  

Improving urgent care and emergency services