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Views about Chorley and South Ribble Emergency Department shared by Healthwatch Lancashire

Healthwatch Lancashire has published a report summarising what people in Chorley and South Ribble have said about the changes to Chorley and South Ribble Hospital Emergency Department.

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The report, which summarises the feedback gathered by members of the Healthwatch Lancashire team during public engagement activities in Chorley and South Ribble between May and August 2016, shows that 55% of people do not know what an urgent care centre is for.

Following the change to the emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and the opening of an Urgent Care Centre, the Healthwatch Lancashire team reached out to the community to find out what people’s views are through a range of community engagement activities including Care Circle group activities and visits to locations across the area.

The report found that most respondents (90%) had heard about the changes at Chorley and South Ribble Emergency Department but there were inconsistencies in the responses when they were asked to clarify what to attend an Urgent Care Centre for. Answers ranged between minor injuries (51%) to life threatening emergencies (16%).

The report includes a list of actions provided by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in relation to how they will improve service users’ experiences following the activity.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust stated in their response that they will ensure that the CCGs are aware of the report so that the findings can be addressed in the service’s communications plans for the future. They also stated that they will be recommending to the System Resilience Group that an overview of the services available at the Urgent Care Centre will be produced to support people to choose well.

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “It is important that the messages people receive are clear so they are able to make the right choice when visiting health and social care services.

“The report has been shared with those who manage and commission health and social care services in Chorley and South Ribble to give people a voice and to influence service improvement. We thank Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for their response to the report and for any actions that improve the experience for people in Chorley and South Ribble.”

Jan Ledward, Chief Officer of Chorley and South Ribble CCG and Greater Preston CCG, said: “We would like to thank Healthwatch for carrying out this helpful survey. The results are to be expected because of the temporary arrangements at Chorley Hospital A&E department.

“It is important that we help people understand which service is the most appropriate for their needs, and communicating this will be a priority for us as we implement the new 24/7 urgent care service at Chorley Hospital and Royal Preston Hospital.

“We know that people attend A&E departments because of limited availability of alternative services. Evidence from other parts of the UK shows that people with minor illnesses and injuries, such as fractures to arms and legs, muscular sprains, dislocation of fingers and toes, and burns and scalds, can be treated effectively by a GP-led urgent care service, integrated with an accident and emergency department.

“This means that patients receive the appropriate service for their need and frees up A&E staff to deal with life-threatening emergencies. The service we have commissioned is in line with the national model and we are confident this will provide an excellent service for our population.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We thank Healthwatch for undertaking this work and helping us understand the views of local patients.  The report shows that the patients who have used the interim urgent care centre service at Chorley Hospital have had a positive experience, with short waits to be seen, and effective treatment provided. 

“Whilst people know about the interim arrangements, it’s clear there is still confusion about what an Urgent Care Centre provides.  Lots of communication activity is planned over the next few months to raise awareness of urgent care and emergency services, to make it easier for local people to understand where to go for treatment.”

The full Chorley and South Ribble report can be read online at https://healthwatchlancashire.co.uk/reports/