Patients urged to have their say on health service changes

Peterlee Community Hospital, which houses the walk-in service.
Peterlee Community Hospital, which houses the walk-in service.

Patients are being urged to have their say on the future of health services as NHS chiefs look to make changes to drop-in sessions.

NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is carrying out a public consultation in a bid to improve urgent care services.

The CCG, which plans and buys care, is asking patients to give their views on options for accessing care at three centres in East Durham.

It could see primary care services available through a number of hubs, but there will be no walk-in facility.

With demand rising, the CCG says it wants to get better value for the taxpayer and has set out options for the walk-in service at Peterlee Community Hospital, Healthworks in Easington Colliery, and Seaham’s Primary Care Centre.

Dr Jonathan Smith, clinical chairman of the CCG, said: “The current system is confusing for patients and often they end up in ‘the wrong place’ and there is a lot of duplication of work in urgent care centres, walk-in centres, A&E departments, and GP surgeries.

“Patients have told us that often they use urgent care centres as they didn’t think they would be able to get an appointment with their GP at a time that was convenient for them.

“We know in a large proportion of cases that appointments were available at their GP practices.

“More than half of our patients have one or more long- term health condition and we know that the best way for patients to manage these is by seeing their GP.”

Consultation will be held on Thursday, May 12, from 2pm to 4pm at Easington Social Welfare Centre. For more information, visit www.gettingcarerightforyou.org.uk.