Have your say on future of urgent care at St Albans Hospital
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The future of urgent care services at St Albans City Hospital is up for consultation and you can have your say on what happens.
Residents are being asked to take part in a public engagement exercise running until August 1.
The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at St Albans City Hospital has been temporarily closed since April 2020 when West Herts NHS Trust staff were redeployed to support the response to the pandemic.
It remains closed to avoid having people walk into St Albans City Hospital as the whole hospital needs to stay Covid-free for the safety of staff and patients and so that planned surgery can safely take place there.
Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for planning and funding health services locally, is now progressing work to look at what urgent care service to provide at St Albans City Hospital once services can reopen next year.
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Dr Richard Pile, lead GP for urgent care at Herts Valleys CCG said: “In looking at future services at St Albans City Hospital we want to improve what we have had, and to provide a service that supports patients well into the future, sitting alongside other available services.
"We want to state from the outset that we’re not seeking to cut urgent care services at St Albans. What we are doing is evaluating all options fully and we are putting these to the public.”
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The engagement exercise will seek people’s views on four different options:
1. Not reopen an urgent care service at St Albans City Hospital and ask patients to continue to use other nearby services in the same way as they have been doing in the last 12 months.
2. Reopen the minor injury unit as it was before the pandemic, as a service that is led and delivered by senior experienced and specially trained nurses. This would not cater for minor illnesses.
3. Open a new integrated urgent care service that would offer a minor illness and injury service. It would be led and delivered by senior experienced nurses with the support of GPs. It would offer some additional diagnostic services on top of x-rays. Appointments would be through the NHS111 service or GPs. There would be no walk-in patients.
4. Open a new urgent treatment centre that would provide a comprehensive urgent illness and injury service with a broader range of diagnostic services. It would be led and delivered by GPs with the support of senior and qualified nurses and health care assistants. It would offer both walk-in and booked appointments.
The CCG’s preferred option is Option 3 – a new integrated care hub - because it would provide the flexibility to design an enhanced minor injury and illness service that can meet local needs without overstretching resources.
This option would also allow the service to be run on an ‘appointment only’ basis. Booked appointments ensure that patients are seen quickly by the right person and allows spacing of patients throughout the day to avoid bottlenecks of people attending at particular times, which in turn allows better infection control.
Dr Pile added: “We hope that people will take the opportunity to have their say by completing our survey or coming along to one of the engagement events that we have planned over the coming weeks.
“I would encourage people to look at the information that we’re making available as part of the engagement. This explains the various factors that the CCG will consider in making a decision in the autumn about what service to provide at St Albans City Hospital.
"Ultimately we want to make the best use of our workforce and resources to get the best for our patients. And we want as many people as possible to tell us what they think, to help us make the decision”
To find out more and to take part in the survey go to the Get Involved section of the Herts Valleys CCG website https://hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/public-engagement