New partnership set up to run Croydon’s urgent care services
Croydon’s urgent care services, to include three ‘GP Hubs’ across the borough and a new A&E at Croydon University Hospital, will be run by a newly-formed partnership, it has been announced.
Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, Croydon GP Collaborative and AT Medics, have been chosen by Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to make up Croydon Urgent Care Alliance, which will run the new system due to be up and running in April next year.
The new setup will mean the end of the controversial arrangement at Croydon University Hospital (CUH), where Virgin Care currently run the Minor Injuries Unit.
Croydon University HospitalThe privately-run system has been criticised in the past for the way adult patients arriving at the hospital’s A&E were streamed by Virgin Care receptionists.
The practice was criticised by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission in 2013 and last year an inquest into the death of Madhumita Mandal, who died of organ failure and sepsis in 2013, found that her death could have been avoided if she had been properly treated.
The receptionist on duty when Mrs Mandal presented at the hospital, said she did not send her straight to the emergency department because she “wasn’t that sick”.
The system has not been in practice since the A&E was moved to a temporary site while the new £21.5 million emergency department, due to open next year to coincide with the new urgent care structure in April.
A spokesman for Croydon CCG said: “Whilst the new emergency department is being built, all patients are currently being seen and assessed on arrival by trained nurses from the emergency department at Croydon University Hospital.
“In the new seamless urgent care service, patients will be clinically assessed on arrival and streamed to the most appropriate service including A&E if it is a real emergency.
In February, the CCG announced it would run urgent care services via three GP Hubs across the borough, at the Edridge Road Walk-in Centre, Purley War Memorial Hospital and New Addington Minor Injuries Unit.
The new hubs will be open for longer hours than the existing arrangement, from 8am to 8pm, with their doors open for 365 days a year, and that they will be able to treat patients of all ages in need of urgent care.
The CCG says they will provide the same services as the current walk-in centre at Edridge Road, but with the additional services provided by the existing centres in New Addington and Purley.
Parkway Health Centre in New AddingtonThe 24-hour Urgent Care Centre at Croydon University Hospital, will also contain the functions of a GP Hub for the north of the borough.
There will also be a roving GP service for urgent home visits, and an out-of-hours GP service for telephone advice and home visits between 6.30pm and 8.30am on weekdays and 24 hours a day over weekends and bank holidays.
The CCG also says the new system will be simpler, with better signposting so that people visit the right services, which could potentially ease pressure on the A&E department.
People are also being encouraged to call the NHS’s 111 number for advice on the best place to go for treatment.
Dr Tony Brzezicki, clinical chair of Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The new urgent care service, which has been designed by and for local people, will improve the outcomes, safety and experience of local people, helping them to get the right treatment by the right person in the right place.”
Dr Tony Brzezicki, chairman of Croydon CCGDr Kathryn Channing, who is in charge of the Emergency Department at CUH said that the Alliance will mean one team will be overseeing urgent and emergency care, with the hospital and local GPs working together.
She said: “People who are very unwell will always be prioritised when they come to the Emergency Department, and will be seen straight away if their condition demands it – but we also see many other patients with non-urgent conditions who could get faster treatment elsewhere.
“We know from speaking to our patients, that care has often been fragmented with patients handed from one service to another. “Bringing our services together will mean that people are not passed from pillar to post.
“Our structure aims to deliver one service, through one team and achieve one very-high standard – and that is to deliver outstanding quality care.”
Dr Kathryn Channing is in charge of the CUH Emergency DepartmentAT Medics already run the Minor Injuries Units at Purley War Memorial Hospital and the Parkway Health Centre in New Addington, as well as several other GP surgeries in the borough.
The CCG said the contract for Croydon Urgent Care Alliance will run for three years from April 2017 with an option to extend the deal for two further years.
Residents’ Associations, who were initially highly critical of the GP Hubs plan have greeted this week’s announcement positively.
Diane Hearne, chair of Hartley and District Residents’ Association (HADRA), speaking on behalf of eight associations in the south of the borough, said the appointment of Croydon Urgent Care Alliance was “very good news”.
She said she was pleased the GP Hubs will remain on the same sites, Purley and New Addington.
“I think the associations’ decision, with the support of Chris Philp [MP for Croydon South] and our local councillors, to fight the reduced hours and change of services in Purley, has been instrumental in achieving this upgrade of services and extended opening hours,” she said.
However, Mrs Hearne said there remain concerns over whether an X-ray machine will be available at Purley, whether the 111 service will be able to cope with demand, and how walk-in services will be provided at the hubs.
Purley War Memorial HospitalHealthwatch Croydon said it was pleased that many of the recommendations it made to the CCG during the urgent care consultation had been followed.
Charlie Ladyman, chief executive of Healthwatch Croydon, said: “This decision is good news for Croydon residents, as services are being designed in response to patient need.
“We are pleased to see so many of our recommendations being translated into the plans for this new service.”
The recommendations made by Healthwatch Croydon included centres at Purley, New Addington, Edridge Road and Croydon University Hospital, ensuring longer opening hours and better signposting.
Tariq Salim, a Healthwatch Croydon volunteer said he hopes Croydon Urgent Care Alliance succeeds in delivering the service.
Meanwhile, Councillor Maggie Mansell, chair of Croydon Health and Wellbeing Board said the appointment was “fantastic news”.
“It is really important that the provider services work closely together to ensure easy transfer between models of service to ensure that the best care is provided in the best place and to the best standard.”