Urgent Care Services Are Changing

What are urgent care services?

Urgent care services offer GP and nurse appointments when GP practices are closed on weekday evenings and at weekends and on bank holidays. You can find out more about urgent care services here.

Why are we making changes?

The contracts for the services come to an end in March 2019. In September 2018 we announced changes to the services in response to patient feedback to make services easier to navigate for patients and make best use of NHS resources.

What people told us

In June 2018 we launched a five-week period of public engagement asking people for their views on our initial plans.

775 people shared views via a survey and people also had the opportunity to attend public meetings and speak with CCG staff who visited towns across East Leicestershire and Rutland. People’s views have been taken into account in the redesign of the service.

The key changes:

  • New urgent care centre to open in the Blaby district area

In the survey, 95% of respondents living in North Blaby and 69% of respondents living in South Blaby said they would use an urgent care centre if one opened in the district area. The site will be open from 6.30pm to 9pm on weekdays and from 9am to 7pm at weekends and on bank holidays. Further public engagement will take place to determine the location of the new site.

  • Extended service with longer opening hours in Lutterworth

The urgent care centre in Lutterworth will have extended opening hours from 9am to 7pm at weekends and on bank holidays, instead of the current 10am to 4pm at weekends and on bank holidays. It will also be made easier for patients to access the service, with options to walk-in, appointments offered via NHS 111 or pre-booked via their GP practice.

  • Nurse-led urgent care centres in Melton Mowbray, Oakham and Market Harborough to remain open from 9am to 7pm at weekends and on bank holidays

The plans announced in June included proposals to reduce opening hours at weekends and on bank holidays so that the sites would be open from 9am to 5pm instead of 9am to 7pm.

However, after listening to patients’ feedback (88% of respondents said that having a service open after 5pm at weekends and on bank holidays was important or very important to them), ELR CCG has announced it will not change weekend and bank holiday openings hours.

  • Nurse-led urgent care centres in Melton Mowbray, Oakham and Market Harborough to open from 6.30pm to 9pm on weekday evenings to remove the overlap of opening hours when GP practices are open

These proposals to remove the overlap when GP practices are open came about after figures showed 51% of appointments during these periods are not used and following patient feedback which suggests patients are confused about where to go to access services.

We hope that opening urgent care centres from 6.30pm to 9pm on weekday evenings will reduce confusion around where people should access services. Two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents said the change would help to reduce confusion over where people should go for urgent care needs.

Respondents also said removing the overlap on weekday evenings when GP practices are open would have no impact (50%) or a positive impact (20%) on them.

Although there was support for the plans, some people expressed concern about access to GP practices during these times.

  • Additional investment to improve access to appointments during GP practice opening hours

Removing the overlap of opening hours will make best use of NHS resources and improve continuity of care with more patients being seen by their own GP practice. ELR CCG will be investing to improve access to on-the-day appointments in general practice. Practices will also be required to open until 6.30pm on weekday evenings, and we will monitor the availability of appointments during this period.

What else has been announced in the plans?

  • Opening hours at the urgent care centre in Oadby to remain as they are

The centre will continue to open on weekdays from 8am to 9pm and at weekends and on bank holidays from 8am to 8pm.

  •  Clinical signposting to be introduced

Clinical signposting – where a patient’s needs are assessed to ensure they access the most appropriate service – will be introduced with a clear focus on ensuring every patient is treated in the right place for their needs as quickly as possible.

  • 24/7 urgent care visiting service

We currently offer a 24/7 urgent care visiting service for people who are housebound and require home or community-based urgent care. People will continue to be able to access this service by calling NHS 111 if the service is appropriate for their needs.

  • Remove technical inefficiencies:

The plans will also help remove technical inefficiencies by combining the current out-of-hours GP service with the nurse-led urgent care service, which operate under different contracts. This affects our urgent care centre in Oakham which will become an integrated GP and nurse service.

  • Services for patients outside of East Leicestershire and Rutland

The plans will also ensure patients can continue to access urgent care services outside of East Leicestershire and Rutland in neighbouring areas, for example in Stamford, Rugby, Grantham and Corby.

Patients can also access:

  • an out-of-hours primary care service delivered at Loughborough Hospital, 24/7
  • an out-of-hours primary care service delivered at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI), 24/7

More information

You can find out more about the plans on our website here.

You can read the full paper (paper I) on the changes which was presented to our governing body in September 2018. The engagement report can also be found online.