Agenda item

Urgent Care in East Sussex - Update report


31.1     The Committee considered a report which provided an update on various aspects of Urgent Care in East Sussex. Representatives from SECAmb provided an update on 999 and 111 ambulance services. These services continue to be challenged, as with the national picture, in terms of response times, telephone call answering times and dealing with increased demand for 111 services. However, SECAmb have performed well in comparison with other ambulance services in the region. Representatives from ESHT and the CCG provided updates on other aspects of Urgent Care, including Walk in Centres (WIC) and the Crowborough Minor Injuries Unit (MIU).

SECAmb Services

31.2     The Committee asked for more information on the increased call volumes for the 111 service.

31.3     John O’Sullivan, SECAmb outlined that call volumes were up year on year. Call volumes for the 111 service are still significantly above the contracted level SECAmb was commissioned to provide. Commissioners have created a clear pathway to access 111 services, and this has led to increased activity. It is expected that activity will continue to go up in 2022/23 due to the role of 111 as the single point of access for services.

31.4     The Committee asked if there was an impact when A&E departments are full and whether more people are still using the 111 service.

31.5     John O’Sullivan responded that Emergency Department (ED) capacity is not something that is within the 111 service’s control. However, the role of 111 is to triage patients as to whether they need to go to EDs or not. Of those patients who went through the 111 service, 82% had a direct ED booking. SECAmb is in the vanguard of ambulance services nationally who offer this service. There is still some reluctance by patients to go through the 111 service, but overcrowded EDs are not because of the 111 service and are more a result of patients who elect to present at A&E / Emergency Departments.

31.6     The Committee asked for an update on the new Make Ready Centres and the use of zero emission vehicles.

31.7     Ray Savage, Strategic Partnerships Manager SECAmb, outlined that the new Make Ready Centre at Falmer is now operational and combines facilities for staff welfare and vehicle servicing enabling an efficient service to be provided. The next development will be at Medway where the Make Ready Centre will be co-located with the operations centre for 999 and 111 services for the SECAmb east area. This will create efficiencies and inter-operability between 111 and 999 services, as it enhances the opportunities for dual role staff. The Medway operations centre will cover 999 and 111 services for East Sussex, Kent and Medway which comprises the east operational area of SECAmb. Currently there are separate operations centres in Ashford and Medway. Julie-Marie Allsopp-West, SECAmb, added that the Medway centre is due to become operational in Autumn 2022, with the building due to be handed over in August 2022.

31.8     Ray Savage outlined that SECAmb is exploring the use of zero emission vehicles, but there are limits on the distance these vehicles can travel. Ambulances are heavy vehicles, and their weight constrains the range of zero emissions vehicles. However, SECAmb is experimenting with some electric vehicles to assess their suitability for a number of uses within the service.

31.9 The Chair asked if it would be possible to arrange a visit for HOSC members to the new Medway Operations and Make Ready Centre once it is operational. Action: Ray Savage and Julie-Marie Allsopp-West to organise a suitable time for a visit by HOSC in the Autumn.

31.10   The Committee asked if it would be possible to possible to see the IT Critical Incident report findings.

31.11   Ray Savaged responded that the findings will be made available to HOSC once the report has been cleared with the CCG. Action: Ray Savage to inform the Committee of the date when the report will be available.

Walk In Centres

31.12   Ashley Scarff, Deputy Managing Director East Sussex CCG provided an update on the actions flowing closure of the Eastbourne walk in centre (WIC) and the plans for the primary care led hub in Hastings. He confirmed that all patients from the Eastbourne WIC had been transferred to the Victoria Medical Centre and a service had been commissioned for homeless and vulnerable people.

31.13   The Committee noted the issues with telephone answering times and the ability to book an appointment at the Victoria medical centre and asked if the system for booking appointments could be reviewed.

31.14   Ashley Scarff responded that there is a generic point around access to primary care appointments and there is an acknowledgement that some work needs to be done to get access points better and smoother. GP practices are working on this and it would be possible to come back to the Committee with more information on this point.

31.15   John O’Sullivan commented that one of the constraints in the 111 service, which operates 24 hours a day, is access to available bookings with GP surgeries. He outlined that 31% of triaged patients had a direct appointment booking to a secondary provider, and the more appointments that are made available, the more bookings the 111 service can achieve.

31.16   The Committee asked how many patients who go to see a GP at the Hastings Primary Care led Hub, will be seen by a nurse practitioner, and what the GP presence will be at the Hub.

31.17   Ashley Scarff agreed to share the service specification for the Hub with HOSC members after the meeting which will provide more information on this. Action: Ashley Scarff.

Crowborough Minor Injuries Unit (MIU)

31.18   The Committee welcome the re-opening of the Crowborough MIU on 14 February 2022 but noted the opportunity has not been taken to re-open the MIU in the larger space available in the building. The Committee asked if the CCG is planning to review the accommodation used by the MIU.

31.19   Ashley Scarff outlined that the activity levels at the MIU will be monitored, but the CCG does not have a plan to move the MIU into a new space in the building. It will be up to the providers, who are Sussex Community Foundation Trust (SCFT), to request more space. The CCG would want to maximise the use of the building and can look at the opportunities to use the available space.

31.20   The Committee RESOLVED to note the report.


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