HEALTH bosses say major changes to the way patients in Hartlepool receive urgent and emergency care have got off to an encouraging start.
Following the closure of the University Hospital of Hartlepool’s accident and emergency department last Tuesday, patients with minor injuries are seen at One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road.
Figures published by local health chiefs show that in the first week, 380 patients attended the minor injuries unit, part of One Life’s urgent care centre. A further 84 patients, classed as seriously ill, have been taken to the emergency assessment unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool after being assessed by paramedics responding to 999 calls.
Previously, they would have been taken by ambulance to the accident and emergency department then transferred to the emergency assessment unit if necessary.
Julie Gillon, director of operations and performance at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is a tribute to our staff and the tremendous amount of planning we have done that the transition went smoothly.
“Our staff in the minor injuries area of the urgent care centre are seeing more patients than we had expected.
“One or two people from Hartlepool went to the accident and emergency department at the University Hospital of North Tees because they didn’t think the urgent care centre would have x-ray facilities.
“However it does offer x-ray and can cope with patients with simple fractures.
“Staff in the emergency assessment unit are taking care of patients who phone 999 themselves with emergency medical problems.
“It’s early days, what we have seen so far is very encouraging.”
A shuttle bus between the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees has been used by 17 relatives and patients.
Ali Wilson, director of commissioning and system development at NHS Hartlepool, added: “We’re pleased with how the first week has gone. Judging by the number of patients attending the urgent care centre people do understand what to do when they need urgent care for minor injuries and illnesses and they do understand they need to phone 999 if an adult or child is seriously ill or injured.”
Health bosses will continue to publicise what people should do in an emergency over the next month through local media.
More information is also available at www.momentum.nhs.uk