Plans to 'simplify' emergency care and close minor injuries units in Staffordshire

NHS chiefs are seeking patients' views on the planned transformation of urgent and emergency care which will see the closure of all minor injuries units and walk-in centres.

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust is seeking patients' views
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust is seeking patients' views

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust says it is knows the current system is "confusing" and wants to simplify it for the future.

The existing provision will be replaced by a network of urgent treatment Centres in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

A statement from the trust said: "We want to help people who are seriously ill, or at risk of becoming seriously ill, to access high-quality care locally, at the right time and with the right professional.

"Across England, local areas need to set up a network of urgent treatment centres (UTCs) which will replace the services currently provided by walk-in centres and minor injuries units.

"Walk-in centres and minor injuries units will then cease to exist.

"These UTCs aim to reduce confusion for people who need treatment quickly, usually within 24 hours, but do not need an emergency department.

"We need to design our local approach to create a network of urgent treatment centres that meet the needs of local people, are consistent, easier to understand and deliver fair access across the area."

It comes after hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the minor injuries unit at Cannock Chase Hospital to reopen. The centre has been closed since the first lockdown was introduced in March 2020.

The Minor Injuries Unit at Cannock Chase Hospital

The trust said a conversation began in 2019 to understand what was working well and what could be improved.

More than 2,000 people shared their feedback, which, it says, clinicians and staff used to inform proposals for future services. The 2019 report is available at www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/publications/health-care/76-together-we-re-better-report-of-findings/file

The trust is again seeking views after the process was paused due to Covid and because of the impact of the pandemic.

It says patients' experiences may have changed and that some communities have had temporary service changes, for example the closure of Leek and Cannock minor injuries units.

It also points to changes in its services such as the offering of timeslots in emergency departments through NHS 111.

A series of virtual events, held on Microsoft Teams, are being held to to inform future proposals, on Tuesday, October 5, 1.30pm to 3.30pm; Wednesday October 6, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and Wednesday October 13 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

To book a place, or access an online questionnaire, visit tinyurl.com/2697r8vt

"At this point no decisions have been made," says the trust.

"This is one part of a bigger piece of work to ensure health and care services meet the needs of local people now and in the future, and make the best use of the resources available."

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