Urgent care upgrade at St Albans City Hospital moves ahead

The former minor injuries unit at St Albans City Hospital.

The former minor injuries unit at St Albans City Hospital. - Credit: Krishan Bhungar

The future of urgent care services at St Albans City Hospital looks secure following the decision to create an integrated hub on the site.

The board of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has supported plans for a hub run by specialist nurses with support from GPs, providing same day urgent care for health concerns that need prompt attention but aren’t life threatening.

Much like GP services, the integrated urgent care hub will work on an appointment basis with patients booked into the service through NHS111 or their GP practice. It will be open for a minimum of nine hours a day.

More work will now take place alongside patient representatives to draw up the final specifications and to provide detailed costings.

Subject to further board approval of the outline business case and funding, the CCG will go out to market for a provider to run the new service later this year. The new service is expected to be up and running towards the middle of 2022.

Herts Valleys CCG has been considering how best to develop urgent care services at St Albans Hospital for some time. The temporary closure of the minor injuries unit (MIU) in April 2020 as part of the response to the pandemic provided an opportunity to reassess what service to provide at St Albans once services are able to resume next year. 

The board was presented with the findings of a public engagement which asked about people’s use of urgent care services and sought views on four possible options for future provision at St Albans City Hospital.

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These ranged from a ‘do nothing’ option of not having any sort of service on the site, a ‘do minimum’ option of reopening the MIU, an enhanced option of the integrated urgent care hub and an advanced option of an urgent treatment centre.

The CCG openly stated its preference for an integrated urgent care hub on the basis that it offered the flexibility to design a minor injury and illness service that would meet local needs without overstretching resources.

Dr Richard Pile, lead GP for urgent care at Herts Valleys CCG, said: “We’ve been talking about urgent care services at St Albans hospital for some time and this agreement gives us a real opportunity to improve provision for patients and create a service that supports people well into the future."

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