Sunday, 11 December 2016

Accrington Victoria Walk in Centre is changing

The Walk in Centre at Accrington Victoria which provides a free GP service from 8am to 9pm to people who cannot get a GP appointment with their doctor.

The reply I have received from the CCG is at the foot.

I have long opposed the closure of this and had numerous conversations with the CCG over the last few years expressing my feelings. Notably three;

- Working people and notably parents with busy lives who cannot wait in telephone queues to be told next week. It was handy to turn up and wait to see a GP.

- The quality of the GPs as expressed by users was very high (ELMS were the providers). *Hyndburn’s GPs have been criticised for too many being near bottom of Lancashire league tables (A point I have raised continually on your behalf)

- The new private company set up in competition by GPs (who also running the commission service the CCG).

It is now going to close some time in the future to be replaced by a (cheaper/NHS cuts) system. I have an enormous amount of time for the Chief Officer, Mark Youlton. We all should have.

The replacement hub (details in the letter at the bottom)

In the walk in centres place is going to be a telephone and physical hub. It will;

- EXCLUDE the walk in element
- Provide nurses to 8pm
- Provide overspill GP appointments elsewhere across Hyndburn up to 8pm
- Provide care navigators to ease numbers of GP referrals (which I have helped with following my visit to the Police at Hutton)

The upside is the Care Navigators. (see below)

Feelings will be mixed and I for one believe it is a risk. Get it wrong and people will simply go to an overburdened A&E. When I last met with Mark I also met with Kevin McGee, CEO of all the Hospitals in East Lancashire including A&E at Blackburn. Between them they were confident there wouldn’t be a knock on effect. There are questions as to whether this will in fact be the case however the new service may prove to be better?

Some 20% of calls to the Police are mental health or other health issues (dementia in old people being common), not Police calls. There has too been a disconnect between East Lanc’s services with the Police struggling to cope. I have been working hard in the background to resolve this.

Visiting the Police you appreciate just how wide, varied and complex the issues are which result in people calling the Police.

Many GP appointments may need a nurse or may not require a GP but a specialist service. So two things are going to be combined;

- No longer are the police going to struggle attending non Police matters and when they do they will not be left alone to struggle through complex health matters. The Police have vastly improved their telephone service (not perfect, but very, very good) to meet this challenge.

- The CCG are establishing care navigators similarly. The Police will now forward health calls to the Care Navigators where people should receive the appropriate help. Linking in with the care navigators is a whole host of 3rd sector organisations.

I have worked hard to pull East Lancs services together and I believe this aspect is a major step forward. When my gran had Alzeimers she always called 999 when she got confused. She actually needed care support services and in some cases a simple adjustment would help her and prevent a call to the Police. Quite often those simple adjustments may not be medical, they may be physical or societal.