East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is seeking views on its plans to close the Urgent Care Centre at the New QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City overnight.
The Urgent Care Centre for minor injuries and minor illnesses is currently open for 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The national requirement is for centres to be open at least 12 hours a day.
The CCG is proposing to close the Urgent Care Centre between 10pm and 8am each day, for various reasons, such as:
• Low usage overnight – less than one person an hour between 10pm and 6am, although two highly-trained clinical staff must be on duty. The CCG feels the staff would be better used in A&E at Lister Hospital, Stevenage;
• No doctor available between midnight and 8am due to recruitment difficulties, so people are often referred elsewhere such as the Lister Hospital in Stevenage or NHS111;
• X-rays unavailable after 11pm; and
• 86% of patients not requiring further tests, scans, medicine, or referral to another NHS service.
The CCG is asking local residents for their views and the consultation runs until Wednesday 4th September 2019. You can find out more and access the online consultation at https://qeiiucc.enhertsccg.nhs.uk
There will also be a series of public consultation events in Hertford, Welwyn Garden City and the local area, up until mid-August. The CCG will meet towards the end of October 2019 to make a decision. Details about the consultation events are at https://qeiiucc.enhertsccg.nhs.uk/events
Dr Prag Moodley, a GP and East and North Hertfordshire CCG Chair, said: “We are committed to ensuring that our local population can access high quality urgent care and emergency health services, against a difficult background of increasing demand, an ageing population and recruitment challenges. We have to make the best use of highly skilled, clinically trained NHS staff, and we believe that when the Urgent Care Centre isn’t busy, the best use of their skills is to help people with life-threatening emergencies in our A&E at the Lister Hospital.”
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