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Ensure equal access to urgent care services say Croydon residents

An analysis of local patient experience by Healthwatch Croydon, says that urgent care services need to be equally accessible across the borough, according to a research report published today.

The findings raise key questions on how urgent services, those which do not require hospital admission and can be managed without a trip to Accident and Emergency (A&E), should be reorganised to meet local residents’ needs.

The Urgent Care and Emergency Services Report focuses on views of urgent care services such as the minor injury units, NHS 111 helpline, GP Out of Hours and ambulance services, based on a collection and analysis of Healthwatch Croydon’s patient views and experiences, and a public meeting held in November. The report is published just as the Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group makes its decision on the delivery of urgent care services.

Their conclusions are:

  • Equal access to urgent care services was a key concern with availability needed both distance from the facility and more appropriate opening hours.
  • Better data needs to be produced on how and when these services are used and the final impact for the user, who may use more than once service on a particular occasion, ensuring that demand is met more effectively.
  • Applying this data would also mean that resources should be better allocated across all alternative services to calling an ambulance. This will build trust and confidence in the patient that all services to can deliver as well as going to A&E.
  • Supporting this, effective training is needed across all services with a focus on specialist nurses rather than doctors in urgent care centres.
  • Clear, easy to understand, information and promotion of each service is essential to build confidence in these services and encouraging these are chosen over A&E and Ambulance services. A strong and simple promotion campaign showing how particular medical issues can be managed and the ease of process to use relevant services for that issue is essential.

Charlie Ladyman, Healthwatch Croydon CEO, said “The people of Croydon have spoken about their concerns about proposed changes to urgent care services. It is not just about lack of resources, but about using those resources in a better way. Building confidence with the patient, that when they use the service they urgently need they will get seen swiftly and efficiently, is essential. Our analysis and public meeting has some clear suggestions for decision-makers to consider. We encourage them to respond positively.”

The Urgent Care and Emergency Services Report can be downloaded from