Clinical leaders call for radical redesign of local urgent care services

Clinical leaders from across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have come together to call for a ‘radical redesign’ of local urgent care services.

They say that the services – which look after patients needing immediate care – face significant workforce, performance and capacity challenges and must be redesigned if they are to meet local need.

The members of the area’s strategic Clinical Cabinet (part of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership – ‘Healthier Together’) say in a joint letter issued this week to local health and care staff: “While we have much to celebrate, particularly the dedication and commitment of our staff, we also face unprecedented workforce, performance and capacity challenges with the potential to significantly affect our ability to deliver effective urgent care services as a system.”

They commit their organisations, which include local NHS trusts, GPs, community healthcare services and local authority social services, to working more closely together to deliver vital changes set out in the area’s urgent care strategy, which aims to simplify services, promote greater consistency in urgent care provision and target support on those most at need.

Commenting on the letter, Chair of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Cabinet, Dr Martin Jones, said: “This is a rallying call to our colleagues across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire urgent care system.

“We all know that local urgent care services are experiencing exceptional demand and dealing with major workforce, capacity and performance challenges. We can’t address these challenges effectively as individual organisations but by working together to implement the aims of our local urgent care strategy, we can make a difference.”

The Clinical Cabinet will work initially on short-term changes in four areas including urgent care services for frail older adults; mental health services for people in crisis; children’s urgent care and Emergency Department demand management. As part of this commitment, the Clinical Cabinet will be working with more than 100 healthcare staff at a collaboration event in the coming weeks to develop a jointly owned urgent and emergency care plan for 2019/20. Outcomes from the event will be published soon. 

Further programmes of work will be agreed over the coming months.