Health chiefs promise to help Hartlepool people get better access to health care

The One Life Hartlepool building in Park Road.
The One Life Hartlepool building in Park Road.

Health chiefs say they are ready to move ahead with work to make it easier for people to access urgent health care in Hartlepool.

People told care commissioners the current system for community based urgent care services is too complicated and that there is a lack of understanding.

NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is led by doctors, nurses and other health professionals, interviewed people in the street and sent out surveys as it looks to improve people’s understanding about access to care out of hours, or in an emergency.

The CCG is responsible for developing and commissioning services to meet the needs of local people.

The review how people access urgent care in Hartlepool was prompted as the contracts for GP walk in centres are due to expire by the end of March next year.

A contract for the integrated urgent care service will be awarded in time for its start next April.

Urgent care health services in Hartlepool are currently supported by a range of providers, from different locations and with separate contracts including; primary care, GP out of hours, healthy living pharmacies, One Life minor injuries Unit, 111 telephone advice and walk in centres.

In a recent report to Hartlepool Borough Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, the CCG said: “It was clear from the engagement analysis and listening to concerns of the public, partners and our GP members that we need to ensure that future services must be easily understood, are accessible and are easily navigated.”

The feedback gathered from public engagement exercises are now being reviewed and will be used to develop the service specification with involvement from patients.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, Chair of the Hartlepool Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “I am pleased the CCG is committed to engaging with residents to inform service redesign and development and that they have undertaken a number of engagement events across the town.

“They have told us that they are now in a position to develop a better model for community based urgent care services to make it easier for local people to get the right treatment, at the right location and at the right time.”

It is expected that the tender for the integrated urgent care service will be published around the middle of this month.

Potential providers will be evaluated during August and September and the contract subsequently awarded to ensure service commencement for April 2016.

The review is not related to efforts to reinstate hospital services in Hartlepool.