The future of Eastbourne Station Health Centre

What are we doing?

We are reviewing services currently provided at Eastbourne Station Health Centre to make sure that we’re meeting the health needs of local people. We know how much you value NHS services and we know that they work best when local people help us shape them, so we really want to talk to you about this.

This information describes what we are doing and why we are doing it. We want to know what you think about services at Eastbourne Station Health Centre as we consider its future. 

Why are we doing this?

We want to make sure that local people have access to the right services for them. Walk-in centres were originally set up to provide same-day urgent care services for minor illnesses, minor infections, minor cuts and sprains. However, many things have changed since then, both nationally and locally. For example:

Nationally

Across the country, people have fed back that the number of different NHS services available to them is confusing, particularly when they need urgent care. Urgent care is a term that describes the range of services for people who need non-emergency treatment that day. This is different from emergency services, like A&E and 999, which are set up to respond to serious or life-threatening situations.

This is understandable as we have a number of places that offer different services, have different opening times and are called different things - urgent care centres, walk-in centres, minor injuries units and numerous GP health centres and surgeries. 

A limited workforce and increasing pressures in general practice often mean that patients cannot speak to or see their GP straight away – so patients may access urgent care services or even go to A&E when they could and should have been treated more quickly and more easily elsewhere.

Having lots of different services all working in different ways means the care we access can be inconsistent. This can mean some patients do not get the right care they need, where and when they need it. 

In January this year the NHS published its Long Term Plan. The Long Term Plan talks about the need to modernise and streamline services, including urgent and emergency care.  

An important part of the Long Term Plan is the creation of Primary Care Networks.  Primary Care Networks are groups of individual GP practices who work together to look after groups of between 30,000–50,000 patients. These new developments will mean that GPs, nurses and other clinical staff including pharmacists, physiotherapists and paramedics will work together so local people will be able to see the right person for them at the right time.

Locally

Local services have improved recently and people now have access to:

  • Improved access GP appointments - local GPs are working together to offer patients more appointments. This means you can now see a GP, practice nurse or another health professional at a time that is more convenient for you, in the evenings, weekends and on bank holidays. The improved access service offers an average of 950 appointments a month in the EHS CCG area – over and above those offered as part of ‘normal’ GP hours – so local people now have access to more GP appointments.

  • NHS 111 - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, NHS 111 has fully trained call handlers including health care experts who can review people’s symptoms right there and then. Soon the health care experts that take the calls will be able to access your healthcare records and be able to book you an appointment with an appropriate health professional should you need to see someone.

  • From December this year, there will be Urgent Treatment Centres at the Eastbourne District General Hospital and at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.  Urgent Treatment Centres provide urgent care services for local people. These services will be available at least 12 hours every day and patients will be seen by GPs, nurses and other clinicians. Urgent Treatment Centres will be equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments that people often go to A&E for such as suspected broken limbs, skin infections and rashes, and vomiting and diarrhoea, and will provide both a walk-in service and bookable on-the-day appointments.

The walk-in service at Eastbourne Station Health Centre

We looked at why people were using the walk-in service at Eastbourne Station Health Centre. We looked at four different days in 2018, including weekdays, weekends and Bank Holidays. We found that the vast majority of patients needed a prescription (a total of 65%) followed by 21% of patients who received advice on how they could treat the issue themselves. The remaining 14 % consisted of referrals to a pharmacy, their own GP, or another service, with a small number receiving treatment on site.

This showed that people are using the walk-in service for non-urgent primary care health issues that could be dealt with by other services nearby in the town centre, for example:

  • Other GP surgeries in the town centre, who offer appointments in the evenings, at weekends and on bank holidays for locally registered patients.

  • Community pharmacies.

  • Other services including those for people with mental health issues, drug and alcohol services and services for homeless people.

Research elsewhere, for example at the Brighton Walk-in Centre, shows the same result, that people are using walk-in services for non-urgent primary care needs.

The NHS is committed to providing the best value for taxpayers’ money and a way to do this is to avoid providing duplicate services.

So, to sum up...

The services at Eastbourne Station Health Centre are now duplicated by a range of other services available locally, especially Primary Care Improved Access. We have the improved 111 service and shortly we’ll have the Urgent Treatment Centres at our local hospitals. Our latest information suggests that demand for walk-in services in Eastbourne is decreasing, with fewer and fewer people using the service. We have a national and local strategy which tells us we have to establish new models of urgent care and reduce confusion and duplication of services. We have a duty to spend money responsibly.

What's next?

Our survey is now closed but we are now carefully reading and analysing everything you’ve told us and writing a report describing our engagement and the information and feedback you’ve given us, which we’ll publish on our website. You can also ask us to send you copies of the report.

We'll take everything you have told us into account and it will inform the decisions we take. We may want to consult with you again and, if we do, we'll let you know how you can be involved.

In the meantime, keep an eye out on this page for the latest information and opportunities to get involved, or follow us on Twitter @EastHailSeaCCG.

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