Our proposals to make services better

Our vision for Wirral’s urgent care services is for a responsive, reliable and efficient system that fulfils these 7 principles which have been developed following conversations with local people, local NHS staff and other stakeholders.

  1. Standardised and simplified access: knowing where to go and who to contact. Receiving the same standard of care wherever you go.
  2. Services that take into account your physical, mental, social and wellbeing needs at every step of treatment. We want patients to feel supported, to understand their treatment, and feel comfortable to discuss any wider needs they may have.
  3. Convenience: easy to find services close to home, where you’re treated quickly and effectively.
  1. Achieving the 4 hour waiting standard in Wirral’s only A&E. Ensuring that A&E staff can focus on the most poorly and vulnerable patients.
  2. Staff who have the right information about their patients, helping them to deliver appropriate care and reassurance.
  3. NHS partners working together, providing a more efficient service that uses tax payers’ money wisely.
  4. Services which staff are proud to be part of, where they feel empowered to deliver high quality care.

Combining national requirements and local need, this is how we propose to achieve it:

More promotion of self-care – ‘helping you to look after yourself’

In Wirral, we’ll be promoting self-care across the community.

Self-care is about:

  • Keeping fit and healthy
  • Understanding when you can look after yourself
  • Understanding when a pharmacist can help
  • When to get advice from your GP or other healthcare professional.

If you have a long-term condition, it’s also about understanding that condition and how to manage it.

Pharmacists who are able to help you more

More pharmacists will be able to prescribe simple medications to patients, so you don’t always have to go to another service.

Making more GP appointments available

GP practices across Wirral provide the vast majority of healthcare for people, and we are not proposing to change the way in which people access a GP.

However, we recognise that for many people, their GP is their first contact point when they feel unwell, so we’ve thought about how we can make more urgent appointments available to people who need them.

An improved NHS 111 service

NHS 111 is changing to offer more clinical assessments by doctors and nurses over the telephone and online. You may receive advice or a prescription, and will not have to wait for a call back. For many people, this will be the only contact they need.

NHS 111 will also continue to act as the point of contact for people who need to use the GP Out of Hours service and they will also be able to book urgent appointments with a GP or experienced nurse.

An Urgent Treatment Centre

The introduction of an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) is a national requirement. It will provide a higher and more consistent level of clinical service than the current Walk-in Centres and Minor Illness/Injury Units. The UTC will be led by GPs and will provide access to a range of healthcare staff.

It is our intention to locate a UTC for Wirral on the Arrowe Park hospital site by developing the existing Walk-in Centre located next to the A&E department.

Having the UTC located on the Arrowe Park site means that patients arriving for urgent care will be assessed and directed to either A&E or the UTC to be seen by a GP or experienced nurse. This is called clinical streaming.

We have considered whether other existing sites in Wirral including Walk-in Centres and Minor Injury/Illness Units could provide UTC facilities. Whilst they could deliver these services with some development work, we do not believe that they offer the same benefits to patients.

Some of these benefits are detailed below:

  • Patients who become very unwell when attending the UTC at Arrowe Park will benefit from a quick transfer to the A&E department to be cared for by specialist doctors and nurses. Having a UTC located elsewhere would rely on ambulance transport and could present a risk to patients, given the time it would take to get them to A&E. Many serious conditions such as stroke and heart attacks require rapid assessment and treatment to achieve the best outcomes for patients.
  • Having the UTC at the Arrowe Park site means that patients can benefit from the full range of diagnostic facilities including MRI and CT scanning. These facilities are not available at other sites.

Therefore our proposed model of care and options for consultation are based on our intention to locate the UTC on the Arrowe Park site. This is because we want to achieve the best clinical care for patients and to provide clear choices when patients have an urgent care need.

Patients may also be offered bookable appointments at the UTC via NHS 111 or your GP if required.

Also, if we have the UTC as well as our other current services then the amount we spend on Urgent Care would be exceeded and we would have insufficient clinical staff to cover all services. This proposal is not about saving money and we won’t be spending any less on Urgent Care but we must ensure that the delivery of a UTC and our proposed model of care is within the amount we have available to spend. Keeping our services as they are would also continue to confuse people about the choices available to them.

Extending urgent appointments to those who need them

We also need to think about our other existing services in the community, including Walk-in Centres and Minor Injury/Illness Units.

We are proposing that, as well as to your usual GP service and NHS 111, we make urgent appointments available within 24 hours (usually on the same day) to anyone who needs them, in local areas across Wirral.

This appointment would be provided at another GP practice and we will also be able to offer an appointment at the Urgent Treatment Centre at Arrowe Park Hospital. This means that you won’t have to wait for an unspecified amount of time, and you can try and fit your appointment around your day.

Urgent care service for children and dressings clinics (wound care).

We know that over 50% of all people using Walk-in Centres and Minor Injury/Illness Units are attending for dressings (wound care - for example if you are having regular dressings for ulcerated legs or need a wound redressed following an injury) or are parents seeking help when their child is unwell.

We are proposing to have a specific urgent care service for children which can be accessed via a bookable appointment or walk-in option. We are also proposing a dressings (wound care) service which would be accessed via a bookable appointment. These services would be located at an NHS clinical site in each of the following areas in Wirral:

  • South Wirral
  • West Wirral
  • Birkenhead
  • Wallasey

We haven’t decided on the exact locations yet and we would like people’s views on what is important for them before we make any decisions. These would include the following:

  • Accessible by public transport
  • Distance from home
  • Accessible for people with mobility requirements
  • Parking
  • Flexible and convenient appointments

The consultation questionnaire provides more detail on these and your feedback will help us decide on the most appropriate venue in each area.

As a result of this proposal, we would no longer have routine walk-in facilities at our current urgent care locations as follows:

  • Walk-in facility
  • Eastham Clinic
  • Victoria Central Wallasey
  • Minor Injuries/Illness unit
  • Miriam Medical Centre Birkenhead
  • Parkfield Medical Centre New Ferry
  • Moreton Health Clinic

IMPORTANT – All other clinical services provided at these locations would not be affected by these changes (for example blood tests at these venues).

The only routine walk-in facility for Wirral will be at the UTC located at the Arrowe Park site. Children will also be able access an urgent walk-in service locally.

What your services could look like:

Urgent appointment within 24 hours, mostly on the same day in your local area, across Wirral. Bookable via your GP or NHS 111.
  • Urgent care service for children 0-19 years (walk-in or bookable) and dressings (wound care).
    Locations for these services will be decided at a later date.
  • Urgent Treatment Center
    (Walk-in or bookable appointments)
  • Arrowe Park A&E
A&E UTC Wallasey Birkenhead South Wirral West Wirral

Your healthcare options also include:

Self Care
We will be promoting self care across Wirral

Your Own GP
From 1st October 2018, practices across Wirral will be providing an extra 720 routine GP appointments each week from 8am-8pm, including weekends, across a number of locations.

Wirral has more than 90 pharmacies. Our local pharmacists are trained in managing minor illnesses.

NHS 111
An improved NHS 111 service, with clinical assessments by doctors and nurses over the pgone and online.