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Demands for clarity over future of urgent care at Newark Hospital

THERE were demands for clarity at the final public meeting on urgent care at Newark Hospital.

Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) recently announced the renaming of the urgent care centre in the town to the urgent treatment centre, which it said should reduce the number of people going to emergency departments, but there is concern over what that could mean for the operation of Newark Hospital.

Figures presented at the meeting by the healthcare commissioners revealed the average number of patients who go to the urgent treatment centre at the hospital in a 24-hour period.

The Urgent Care Centre is to be renamed the Urgent Treatment Centre (4121777)
The Urgent Care Centre is to be renamed the Urgent Treatment Centre (4121777)

They showed Newark Hospital sees, on average, 65 patients every 24 hours, with 15 between the hours of 8pm and 8am and two between midnight and 8am.

The CCG also presented figures on the ratio of staff to patients in an average 24-period at the centre.

Between 8am and 8pm there was an average of 0.9 members of staff, and between 8pm and midnight an average of 2.5, and between midnight and 8am an average of five staff to one patient.

The public meeting, at Holy Trinity Community and Partnership Centre, Boundary Road, Newark, was split into working groups at the conclusion of the CCG presentation.

Groups gave feedback and each one, without exception, called for better communication and described their confusion over service provision.

Dr Thilan Bartholomeuz, GP and clinical chairman of the Newark and Sherwood CCG, acknowledged the concerns.

“When we look at the vision for the new urgent treatment centre the system should be simplified and everyone should have an understanding of what they can provide,” he said.

“Most people understand what you get from an emergency department but the tier below, that is confusing.”

The working groups said the raft of services, such as NHS 111, GP extended access appointments and GP out-of-hours service, and when to use them, could be confusing.

The meetings were set up to find out what the public might want from the urgent treatment centre.

The secretary of the Say Yes To Newark Hospital campaign, Mr Paul Baggaley, said it was important that the centre remained open for 24 hours.

“There’s currently a lot of people who use emergency services when they could be treated at the urgent care centre but the system is too confusing,” he said.

“The figures, therefore, don’t reflect the number of people who might use the service in the future, but it is important to ensure that people can get the care they need at any time of day.”

The CCG now plans to engage with patients that are seen as high users of Newark’s urgent care centre.

Should the CCG bring forward proposals to change the operation of the urgent treatment centre, such as a reduction in hours, the area that most concerns people, it will have to consult on those proposals.

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