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Urgent Care in the Wakefield District

NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning health services for the 360,000 people who are registered with GPs in the Wakefield district. Our job is to make sure services are safe and high quality, meet local needs and make the best use of money and workforce.

In summer 2017, with support from Healthwatch Wakefield, the local independent champion for health and care, we asked for people’s views on the future of urgent care services at Pontefract Hospital. We also talked to local doctors, clinicians and managers working in urgent care services and took independent clinical advice.

New guidance on urgent care services came out in the summer. The feedback we received from the public has helped us to decide how to apply this guidance locally.

We have listened to the feedback from the public and from the MPs and councillors who represent them and have taken advice from independent clinicians.

Based on this, we have decided to change the way we describe the urgent care service at Pontefract Hospital to an Urgent Treatment Centre. 

It is really important that people know where to go if they have a health emergency. If you would like to know more about this change or would like someone to talk to you or your organisation about what it means for local services please contact us at: contactus@wakefieldccg.nhs.uk

Why Change?

Pontefract Hospital is very important in our current and future plans for healthcare in the Wakefield district. But we are making some changes so that they remain safe and make good use of resources.

The changes only affect services for people who have a sudden illness or have had an accident. There is no change to the routine care that is provided at Pontefract Hospital, such as planned surgery, outpatient clinics and rehabilitation.

We know that the way services are organised at the moment is confusing for local people and could mean people make the wrong choice about where to go in an emergency. We believe it will be safer for all people in the Wakefield district if it is clear what different services offer.

New national guidance is now available that explains how urgent care services should work with each other to meet different needs. The guidance describes how urgent care services should work as a network of specialist hospital services, urgent treatment centres, GP and other primary care services. We are working to organise services in the Wakefield district in this way.

Urgent Treatment Centres (sometimes known as UTCs) offer a service where people with health needs that are urgent but not life threatening can turn up without an appointment for tests and treatment.

Urgent care services in the Wakefield District

Our vision for urgent care services in Wakefield district

“To provide integrated 24/7 urgent and emergency care services with easier and faster access offering the highest quality care in the most suitable setting by the most suitable clinician.

Integrated services will provide seamless care, navigating patients through urgent care services,direct to the most suitable services for the individual’s needs.”

Pinderfields

Pinderfields is the main hospital for people who have serious or life threatening conditions. The service is run by consultants who are experts in emergency medicine, supported by other specialists such as doctors, nurses and therapists. The department is able to treat very complex and life-threatening conditions and has access to inpatient beds, including intensive care beds, where patients can be transferred after being stabilised. Conditions that can be treated at Pinderfields include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • severe breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • major injuries.

If you have a health emergency and call 999, the ambulance crew will begin treatment as soon as they get to you and will take you directly to Pinderfields or to another more suitable hospital. For some conditions, such as a heart attack or multiple injuries, you may be taken to a more specialist hospital such as Leeds.

Pontefract

Although the urgent care service at Pontefract Hospital has been described as an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, it does not have back up facilities or specialist staff to treat people who have very serious illness or injuries.

People who need specialist care or need to stay in hospital have to go to Pinderfields. Almost all people who are picked up by ambulance from the east of the Wakefield district are taken straight to Pinderfields. Some people may be taken to another hospital, such as Leeds, for example if they are having a heart attack or have multiple injuries.

If a person turns up at Pontefract Hospital with a life threatening illness they are stabilised and transferred by ambulance to Pinderfields or another hospital.

The services that are available for urgent care at Pontefract are more like those that are offered in an urgent treatment centre than in a hospital Accident and emergency department. This includes:

  • Doctors and nurses who are able to prioritise, diagnose and treat a wide range of patients who need immediate attention for an urgent health need
  • The ability to start resuscitation of a critically ill patient and transfer them for Admission when necessary
  • X-rays, ECG, blood and urine tests
  • Stitches, treatment for fractures and sprains and minor head and eye injuries
  • Access to mental health services
  • Prescriptions and emergency contraception.

When the service becomes an Urgent Treatment Centre it will still provide all of these services and will be run by GPs and specialist nurses. In addition, the service will be able to offer pre-arranged appointments which can be booked via 111.

The Urgent Treatment Centre will still be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

GP services

Your own GP can diagnose and treat a wide range of urgent health problems. GP practices across Wakefield district are open for longer hours during the day and all GPs offer same day appointments for urgent health needs.

You can also book an appointment with a GP on weekday evenings from 6pm to 10pm and at weekends from 10am to 3pm using the telephone number for your own GP practice. This service is provided at Trinity Medical Centre, in Wakefield, and at Pontefract Hospital.

NHS 111

111 is the number to call if you have any problem with your health, which is not life threatening, and do not know where to go. NHS 111 can provide advice about a wide range of services that can support you such as GPs, pharmacies and support groups. They can also book an appointment for you with an appropriate health professional.

Walk in centre

The Walk-in Centre at King Street, Wakefield, is open from 10am to 10pm daily. The service is run by specialist nurses and can treat the following conditions:

  • minor ear, nose and throat problems
  • sprains and strains
  • wound infections and dressings
  • minor burns and scalds
  • minor head injuries (for children over the age of 2yrs and adults under 65yrs)
  • skin conditions
  • minor respiratory conditions such as cough
  • mild abdominal pain or discomfort
  • insect and animal bites and stings
  • minor eye problems • minor injuries to the back, shoulder and chest
  • emergency contraception.

Three numbers to remember:

  1. Your own GP practice number if you need an appointment
  2. 111 if you have an urgent health need and don’t know where to go
  3. 999 for life-threatening emergencies

You can now check on line to see how busy local hospital urgent care services are at www.midyorks.nhs.uk/ae-waiting-times

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