Sheffield GP practices to team up across 16 areas

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Yorkshire Post

Sheffield GP practices to team up across 16 areas as NHS bosses respond to closure of Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit, The Yorkshire Post reports.

Sheffield GP practices will work together in 16 different areas across the city to combat a future shortage of doctors, NHS bosses have said. Around 40 people packed into a room to hear a raft of changes to urgent care services set out by Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Sheffield GP practices will work together in 16 different areas across the city to combat a future shortage of doctors, NHS bosses have said.

A packed meeting held by Sheffield NHS CCG to discuss a raft of changes to urgent care treatment including the closure of the Walk-in Centre on Broad Lane the the Minor Injuries Unit at the Hallamshire Hospital. Both could move to the Northern General.

NHS bosses want to close the Walk-in Centre on Broad Lane in the city centre and the Minor Injuries Unit at the Hallamshire Hospital and move them both to the Northern General.

The proposal has caused a backlash with many residents. It was revealed 60,000 people use the walk-in Centre each year and the Minor Injuries Unit has 18,000. Bosses said the move to one site for minor illness and injury will make it ‘simpler for patients to understand’ and will make ‘more effective use of staff’.

Urgent eye appointments are to be offered at opticians across the city ‘closer to people’s homes’. Emergency care will continue at the Hallamshire.

Kate Gleave, deputy director of strategy and integration speaks to the public meeting. Some attendees hit out at the consultation as there is no option to keep the current services at present.

One woman said: “It seems like you’ve already made up your mind so what is the point of this meeting?” Brian Hughes, director of commissioning, said that ‘wasn’t the case’.

The CCG’s deputy director, Kate Gleave, said ‘no changes would happen this winter’ and there is ‘no cuts involved’ but money would be ‘moved around’. The potential closure of the Walk-in Centre and the Minor Injuries Unit would ‘free up funds’ to be used in a new approach in accessing GPs, she said.

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Ms Gleave added the changes to GP service access were ‘vital’ due to a ‘falling levels of staff through retirement, early leavers and fewer people entering the profession’. The CCG want more people to access a 24 hour urgent appointment. If a resident’s normal practice cannot see them, they will be seen by another GP in their area.

Ms Gleave said: “I work in this profession and I often find it confusing as to which service to access. If someone like me can find it confusing then it will be confusing for others.” Dr Anthony Gore, who sits on the CCG panel and works at Woodseats Medical Centre, added: “Sheffield is currently well-served with GPs because it’s an attractive place to work.

The GP training programme was full until about two years ago so there is issues going forward in terms of numbers.” Many people at the meeting – particularly in the south and south-west of the city – raised concerns about travel and access to the Northern General. One elderly woman said it took her two hours on two buses’ if she needed to get there.

Addressing the recurring issue of travel time to the Northern General, Ms Gleave said: “This is clearly something that we need to take into consideration. In reality, not everyone is going to be happy but we are trying to improve the service for the majority of the population.

“We know people have raised the issue of parking at the Northern General and we’re wary of an increase in cars on that site. We need to work with South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Sheffield Council on this.” The consultation has been extended to January 31.

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