Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning group is currently working with primary care (GP) colleagues, and NHS England to take forwards the development and implementation of seven day GP services.
Whilst the timelines for this are currently unclear, it will include making GP practices the first point of call for unplanned or unexpected health events, in line with what patients and the public have told us.
In December the Governing Body agreed in principle the case for change, to enable the work to develop these plans to proceed. In the interim, when the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund (PMCF) pilot ends in April, the existing provision of 24/7 primary care will continue across the county. This will be through our practices, the extended hours services they provide at evening and weekends, the walk-in centre and our GP out of hours provider.
As the work programme develops over the coming months, we will be working with our GPs, acute hospital providers (Wye Valley NHS Trust) and with GP out-of-hours providers to integrate services more closely, in order to provide a co-ordinated response across NHS 111, A&E and GP services. We will also continue to work to maintain patients’ connection with their own GP practices, through seven day services and other initiatives, enabling them to benefit from the full range of health and care services that are available through their own GP practice.
This approach does mean that stand-alone provisions and services, such as minor injuries and walk in centres, will need to be re-evaluated. The CCG is clear that this requires further work with the organisations that provide care, and that no decisions will be made without a comprehensive and robust consultation with the residents of Herefordshire. This would also include external review by relevant stakeholders such as NHS England and scrutiny committees.
Dr Andrew Watts, Chair of Herefordshire CCG said: “I can confirm that both the walk in centre and Taurus hubs are continuing to provide services from April.
“We are in the middle of a process of consultation and engagement to redesign our urgent care health system with the aim of creating a simpler and more effective local solution. In the fullness of time there may be changes to both of these services but this has not been determined as yet.”
The Governing Body will ensure that all stakeholders are actively engaged and consulted with through this work programme, and agreed the initial engagement plans at the January meeting.
Further information on public engagement in the coming months will be widely publicised throughout the county to ensure people can get involved.