Concerns over car parking if Peterborough’s walk-in treatment centre moves to hospital

Concerns over parking problems have been raised if Peterborough’s walk-in treatment centre moves to the city hospital site.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 7:06 am
The online Health Scrutiny Committee meeting.

A proposal has been made to relocate certain NHS services from the City Care Centre on Thorpe Road to the Peterborough City Hospital (PCH) site in Bretton.

The services to be relocated are: The Urgent treatment Centre (UTC) run by Lincs Community Health Services (LCHS) and the GP Out of Hours Service (GP OOHs) run by Herts Urgent Care (HUC).

This would allow for the full integration of emergency department minor presentations, the UTC and the GP OOHs to create a single urgent care pathway for patients that would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 365 days a year.

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An eight-week public consultation process will be required before any decision is made.

Addressing members of the Health Scrutiny Committee at their online meeting (Tuesday), Caroline Walker, Chief Executive, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: :“This proposal will redesign and reduce pressure on NHS emergency hospital services by the co-locating of existing services before winter 2020 begins.

“Patients will no longer have to make decisions for themselves about how serious their illness or injury is; there will be a single point of access for all of these services on one site.

“This will also allow staff who are part of an integrated urgent care service to develop further the necessary acute training and supervision skills required within a single environment.”

Jessica Bawden, Director of Primary Care, Medicines Optimisation & Out of Hospital Urgent Care Collaborative, added: “National principles and standards state that to improve patient flow through the system UTCs will operate as part of a networked model of urgent care, with referral pathways into emergency departments (ED) and specialist services as required.

“All facilities must have the offer of booked urgent appointments, accessed through NHS111, General Practice and the ambulance service.

“To meet both of these objectives effectively means that access to the ED is via UTC referral only or via ambulance.”

However, Cllr Dr Shabina Qayyum, herself a GP in Peterborough, had some concerns and said: “We know that parking is already a problem at PCH, as it is at the City Care Centre on Thorpe Road – how are you going to address these issues if yet more people are going to be arriving at the PCH site?”

Cllr Chris Burbage added: “The parking problems at PCH are now such that they’re overflowing into residential areas in Bretton, Ravensthorpe and also Netherton to some extent, with residents complaining that they’re finding it difficult to park in there own streets at all times of the day and night because of visitors and staff parking there.

“I myself have witnessed this matter coming to blows when people are trying to park near the hospital, while residents are trying to stop them, simply so they have a space for their car outside their own house when they come home from work in the evening.”

Cllr Darren Fower also had transport concerns and said: “Are there any real and viable plans for an enhanced public transport service as an alternative to the car, for example a bus service to the PCH site using both the ring road and the into-city-centre options?”

Ms Walker replied: “While car parking at PCH is definitely an issue, the vast majority of problems occur in the early evening, so plans are already in place to change the way we operate the car park across the campus, expanding it and possibly providing another exit.

“We have consulted with the bus companies as part of our green transport plans and together we’re looking at better public transport options, which is something our own staff have asked for when we have told them not to bring their own vehicles to the site.”

Cllr Dr Qayyum also asked: “The City Care Centre currently houses the Minor Injury Unit with ‘walk-ins’ until 8pm – if, as you suggest, the new location will be a ‘like-for-like’ service, will patients have access to a GP on a 24-hours a day basis, thereby taking pressure off the A&E Department?”

Ms Walker answered: “In Phase One of this proposal we’re looking at providing services at PCH on a like-for-like basis which wouldn’t require GPs being on site for 24-hours a day.

“However, our intention in Phase Two for spring 2021, is to move to a more integrated system where we do have 24-hour backup for all of the workforce in the minor stream of the EDU, along with the out-of-hours GPs being in attendance.”

Cllr Simon Barkham asked: “If members of the public want to take part in the public consultation process over the next eight weeks, how can they do this and will their comments be listened to and acted upon in the final outcome – for example if there was a groundswell for this move to be stopped completely?”

Ms Bawden replied: “Where the public come forward with ideas that we haven’t thought of – which often happens – then yes, of course as part of a public consultation, depending on the strength of feelings expressed, then their wishes and opinions are taken into full consideration.”

Providers from the NHS North System Resilience Group (SRG) and their respective boards have agreed in principle to co-locate the UTC and Out of Hours (OOHs) services into a single acute site service model.

This is deemed to be a significant service change therefore the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (who also held a consultation meeting Tuesday to discuss this matter) is legally required to conduct a statutory Public Consultation.

Both the CCG and Health Scrutiny Committee members, having heard the rationale for the relocation, approved the formal 8-week consultation process which is likely to begin in early August.