Out-of-hours GP centre to be opened in town
A GP “hub” with late-night and weekend hours will be opened in Barnard Castle.
Doctors from local surgeries will work together to provide extended and enhanced services from several sites in County Durham.
The hubs would open from 6pm to 8pm weekdays, as well as have partial opening hours at weekends. There could also be more same day urgent appointments.
Health officials have confirmed that a hub will be opened in Barnard Castle but a location has yet to be confirmed.
Minor injuries services would remain the same at Bishop Auckland Hospital 24 hours a day, seven days per week. However, Bishop Auckland Hospital will no longer provide urgent care services during the day, with GP “hubs” taking more on.
The proposals have been announced by NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The NHS organisation, which pays for local services, says the shake-up is required because of patient needs and cost-cuts.
A spokesman said: “With over 200,000 patients accessing urgent care services in 2014/15, the CCG proposed changes to simplify access so that prompt treatment can be delivered, making the best use of medical services and the available workforce but without adding pressure on A&E.
“GP practices would work together from common single sites to serve larger populations for these extended and enhanced GP services for some areas – these will be known as ‘hubs’.
“The preferred option chosen by the public following consultation was to base these hubs at Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Stanhope, Peterlee, Seaham, Easington, Sedgefield, Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor.
“Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group is currently working with primary care to improve GP access and to understand how their appointment systems work to further improve these.
“Going forward we will be encouraging use of the NHS 111 service to book appointments and to coordinate access to the right care, first time. We believe these changes to services will:
l Provide care closer to home for our patients providing at least five more sites than we currently provide
l Improve the patient journey and provide better clinical outcomes for the patient
l Offer familiar services for patients
l Provide equity across the area and a more consistent service
l Ensure that patients are seen by the right healthcare professional, in the right place at the right time
l Offer an alternative to A&E services.”
The changes will come into force next April.