People across west Hertfordshire have a final chance this week to have their say on future urgent care provision at St Albans City Hospital once services can restart next year.
Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the NHS organisation which is responsible for planning and funding health services locally, is inviting people to complete a short survey or to take part in discussion groups on the issue.
The CCG wants to hear from patients about how they use and access urgent care services and what is important to them so that it can use this feedback when deciding how to develop these services at St Albans hospital.
The survey runs until midnight on Sunday, August 1 and people can also sign up for online discussion groups, lasting no more than 90 minutes, that will take place during the first week of August. The groups are being run on behalf of the NHS by The Campaign Company and they are offering participants a small payment or voucher to reimburse them for their time.
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 COVID-19 response. It remains closed so that the whole hospital can stay ‘COVID-19 free’ for the safety of all patients and so that planned surgery can safely take place there.
Dr Richard Pile, lead GP for urgent care at Herts Valleys CCG says: “In looking at future provision at St Albans City Hospital we want to provide an improved 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 hospital but we do need to fully evaluate all possible options and invite views on these.”
People are being asked for their views on four different options as follows:
- A ‘do nothing’ option of having no urgent care service at St Albans City Hospital so that patients would need to continue to access other nearby services
- A ‘do minimum’ option of reopening the previous minor injury unit, run by specialist nurses.
- A new integrated urgent care service, run by specialist nurses with the support of GPs, treating minor illnesses as well as minor injuries that patients would need to book into.
- A new urgent treatment centre, run by GPs with nursing support, providing a more comprehensive illness and injury service, accessed by both booked and walk-in appointments.
The option preferred by the clinical commissioning group is a new integrated care hub because it provides an enhanced service that meets local needs without overstretching resources. It also allows the service to run on a ‘appointment only’ basis which allows better spacing of attendances
to help with infection control, avoids people having lengthy waits at peak times and makes sure that patients are seen by the right person for their needs.
Dr Richard Pile adds: “We want as many people as possible to share their views by completing our survey or by joining in a discussion group.”
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.
To register your interest in the discussion groups please go to https://t.co/0a9e6Wh0Vi and sign up by Thursday, July 29.