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Have your say on plans to invest in urgent care services on Teesside

HEALTH chiefs on Teesside are planning to invest in urgent care services in Middlesbrough and Redcar – and want to hear your views!

Under proposals drawn up by the newly established NHS Integrated Care Board (ICB), a new Integrated Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) will be introduced at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and Redcar's existing centre will extend its opening hours to 24/7, 365 days a year.

The proposals would bring the Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland areas in line with other areas in the Tees Valley – with Darlington, Stockton and Hartlepool already offering an integrated urgent care service at their hospitals.

The new Integrated Urgent Care Service would go live in the summer of 2023, offering GP out of hours services and minor injury services 365 days a year, including home visits where appropriate.

Patients in the Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland areas are being invited to have their say on the proposals during a 10-week period of engagement that starts this week.

Sam Allen, Chief Executive of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said:  "I believe that by investing in urgent care services on Teesside we will provide local people with high quality healthcare that is fair and consistent, no matter where they live in the Tees Valley.

"By introducing an Urgent Treatment Centre at James Cook University Hospital and increasing the opening hours at Redcar to 24/7 our aim is to relieve pressure on our already stretched Emergency Department, so that they can focus on the most poorly patients."

"And having a consistent service available across the Tees Valley that is accessible via 111 we hope that we will reduce the confusion people experience when accessing healthcare services, so that they are seen in the right place, at the right time, close to home where safe and appropriate.

"In addition to our proposals to invest in urgent care services, we are in discussions with our partners across the system to look at ways we can improve services ahead of the Winter period and will share more details about this in due course."

Craig Blair, local director for the ICB, said: "We want all Tees Valley patients to have access to high quality urgent care around the clock, no matter which part of our area they live in. We want to integrate services and provide them around patients' needs, with collaboration at the heart of how we treat people requiring urgent care.

"We know patients sometimes visit A&E for things that could be better treated in primary care or an Urgent Treatment Centre, so this new approach can help emergency staff as well as patients.

"We are keen to hear people's views on the proposed changes, to ensure we hear any concerns and take them into account."

The engagement period will run until Sunday 9 October 2022. Patients, carers and stakeholders can complete a survey online or request a freepost paper copy from any GP practice in Middlesbrough.

A series of local events will take place in September, providing further opportunities to ask questions and share comments. Dates for the events will be published on the ICB's Tees Valley website and social media in the next week.  

The engagement period will help the NHS to develop its proposals to best meet the needs of local people. A full report will be published at the end of the engagement period, and this will be used to inform the project's next steps.

For more information, please email necsu.comms@nhs.net.

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