Hartlepool urgent care service comes in for praise

Our writer fears the University Hospital of Hartlepool will eventually be replaced by housing.
Our writer fears the University Hospital of Hartlepool will eventually be replaced by housing.

A new integrated urgent care service at Hartlepool hospital has come in for praise.

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells, chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Audit and Governance Committee, congratulated health managers on the service, which launched on April 1.

Based at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, it is open all hours of the day and night and includes out of hours services. Patients can see a GP or urgent care practitioner for urgent care needs or minor injuries.

Councillor Martin-Wells told representatives from Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group the service was working well,

He said: “The feedback I have been getting is very positive. People are liking the service.

“As this committee is the very first to point out when things go wrong, we are also very fair and point out when things go right.

“It is going right, so congratulations for the work up to now.”

He also asked for his thanks to be passed on to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which is another key partner if the service.

But he asked signage to be looked at urgently including in the car park and old sign at the entrance that reads ‘no A&E’ and underneath ‘urgent care’.

“Those signs need replacing urgently and what it needs to say is ‘urgent care centre, not A&E,” said Coun Martin-Wells.

“More than one person has went over and said they weren’t sure whether they’d got the right building.

“Other than that, I’ve got to say it’s a fantastic service.”

Gordon Goddard of the health campaign group North East Empowerment and Diversity highlighted problems in booking appointments through 111 phone service.

Karen Hawkins, director of commissioning for the clinical commissioning group said; “We are aware of some issues with the 111 service upon the transfer.

“That should have been resolved now.”

She said she would look into any outstanding issues. About 350 people used the service in its first weekend.