Report to:

East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)


Date of meeting:


3 March 2022


Assistant Chief Executive



Urgent Care in East Sussex



To consider an update on a number of issues relating to urgent care in East Sussex


The Committee is recommended to:

1)    Consider and comment on the updates on Urgent Care in East Sussex provided by this report; and

2)    Consider whether to request a further report on any of the other areas covered in the update.


1.    Background

1.1.        Urgent care services are healthcare services that provide the diagnosis and treatment of non-emergency, minor injuries or illnesses that ideally need to be seen on the same day, such as strains and sprains, ear and throat infections and feverish illnesses. 

1.2.        NHS England has in recent years raised concerns that many people are using Emergency Departments (ED) for non-emergency healthcare when they should be using urgent care or same-day primary care services.  A key factor driving this trend, according to data compiled by NHS England, appears to be a widespread confusion amongst the public about the array of urgent care services available that leads individuals to conclude that ED seems like their only option. In response, NHS England has required local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to develop a new integrated urgent care system in their local area comprising primarily of Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs); an enhanced NHS 111 service; and evening and weekend GP appointments.

1.3.        HOSC has undertaken considerable scrutiny of the new urgent care system in East Sussex over the past three years. The Committee considered a report on Urgent Care in East Sussex at the meeting held on 23 September 2021. This report provides an update on several strands of this work, specifically:

·         the new NHS 111 Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) provided by South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) and the NHS 111 First national programme.

·         an update on actions taken following the closure of the Eastbourne Station Health Centre

·         the future development of the service at Hastings Station Plaza

2.    Supporting information

NHS 111

2.1.        The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, included a requirement for CCGs in England to have commissioned by 2019/20 an enhanced NHS 111 service with the ability to book people into urgent face to face appointments and provide a proportion of callers with advice from a clinician via a Clinical Assessment Service (CAS).

2.2.        South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) provides the NHS 111- CAS service for Sussex, Kent and Medway. The HOSC has followed the procurement process of the new NHS 111 service, which includes the development of a CAS. The Committee also identified the enhanced NHS 111 service as a key element of the new Urgent Care system developed in East Sussex. The HOSC most recently received an update on NHS 111 at its meeting on 23 September 2021 as part of a wider report Urgent Care services in East Sussex and requested a further update in March 2022.

2.3.        SECAmb has continued to develop its NHS 111 service. The report attached at Appendix 1 provides an update on NHS 111 and other SECAmb services.

Eastbourne Station Health Centre

2.4.        In March 2018, HOSC considered a report by the local CCGs on the proposed closure of the Eastbourne and Hastings Walk-in Centres (WIC) as part of the development of UTCs at the Eastbourne District General Hospital (EDGH) and Conquest Hospital, respectively. The CCGs subsequently revised their proposals for Hastings WIC.

2.5.        HOSC established a Review Board to consider the evidence in relation to the proposed closure of the Eastbourne Station Health Centre in detail and prepared a report and submitted recommendations as the Committee’s response to the consultation. The Committee requested an update on the progress of the implementation of the decision and received the last update at the meeting held on 23 September 2021. 

2.6.        The report attached as Appendix 2 provides a further update on the implementation the measures agreed as part of the closure and the recommendations of the HOSC report.

Hastings Station Plaza

2.7.        The CCGs presented a report to HOSC on 26th September 2019 in which it was explained that the Hastings WIC would instead be replaced with a Primary Care Led Hub on a temporary basis before deciding on a final clinical model for the site in April 2021. This process was delayed due to COVID-19 and the site remains as a Primary Care Led Hub.

2.8.        The report attachedas Appendix 2 includes an update on the Hastings Station Plaza.

Crowborough Minor Injuries Unit

2.9.        At its meeting on 2 December 2021 HOSC requested an update on the temporary closure of the Crowborough MIU under the Urgent Care item. The Committee has received an update via email that the Crowborough MIU will re-open on Monday 14 February 2022.

3          Conclusion and reasons for recommendations

3.1       The reports attached as appendices provide an update to the Committee on the urgent care system in East Sussex. HOSC is recommended to consider the reports and decide whether future updates are needed on any of the areas covered in the report.


Assistant Chief Executive

Contact Officer: Martin Jenks, Senior Scrutiny Adviser
Tel. No. 01273 481327