Lord Warner Launches Discussion On Urgent Care

Health Minister Lord Warner has launched a new discussion document asking how urgent care services can be improved in the future to deliver a better patient experience. The document – Direction of Travel for Urgent Care: a discussion document – is seeking the views of staff and service users on how urgent care services, such as GP practices, NHS Walk-in Centres, and ambulance services, can best work together to create services that respond more effectively to local patients’ needs.

The White Paper Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services promised to develop a framework within which Primary Care Trusts and local authorities could work to provide urgent care. The discussion document published today is the next stage in that process.

Lord Warner said: “Thanks to extra investment and reform, we have already been able to give people a wider range of NHS services that can provide urgent care. As well as getting an appointment quickly at a GP practice or going to a hospital A&E department, people can use NHS Direct, NHS Walk-in Centres and a range of other primary care services.

“People have told us that they want more convenient local health and social care services. They want to be sure that when they need care, it will be available quickly and close to home. They want to know that they can get the advice and care that will keep them safe. We need to ensure that the different urgent care services fit together well and provide effective triage for people when they contact them. They also need to be properly integrated with A&E services so people know what to expect.

“Locally it makes sense to look at the range of services available in each health and social care community and grasp the opportunities offered to provide better, faster, more accessible care for people. That’s why now is the time for a wider discussion with the NHS on these issues.”