Published: 13:41, 12 August 2019
| Updated: 13:41, 12 August 2019
A public consultation on where new urgent care services should go has been launched today.
The Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging residents to have their say on the future location of an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC).
Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, and Gravesham Community Hospital, in Bath Street, Gravesend, have been earmarked as two potential sites for the creation of the centre, in a bid to reduce the pressure on A&E departments.
The consultation will run for 12 weeks from Monday, August 12, to Monday, November 4.
Earlier this year 2,000 weighed into the discussion via an online survey.
Both options will bring together the existing urgent care services already provided by the Minor Injuries Unit at the community hospital in Gravesend and the White Horse Walk-in Centre at the Fleet Health Campus, in Northfleet, all under one roof to create the new UTC.
The first option is to create a UTC by relocating services from the White Horse Walk-in Centre to join the Minor Injuries Unit at Gravesham Community Hospital. The A&E department at Darent Valley Hospital will remain unchanged under this option.
The second option is to locate the centre alongside the A&E department at Darent Valley Hospital by moving the existing urgent care services from Gravesham Community Hospital and the White Horse Walk-in Centre.
Both the Fleet Health Campus and Gravesham Community Hospital sites will continue to provide NHS services, with the option to use the additional space to develop more health services, such as other GP services and community-based outpatient clinics.
Patients will also be able to access the GP out of hours services and the home visiting services at both sites by calling NHS111.
These proposed changes are part of wider plans to offer local people more GP appointments, better community services and some outpatient appointments closer to home.
"We would encourage everyone with an interest in their local health services to take part..." - GP Dr Nigel Sewell
GP Dr Nigel Sewell, urgent care clinical lead for the CCG, said: "Our urgent care services are currently delivered across different sites and treat patients with different illnesses and conditions. This can be very confusing for people who don't know where best to go if they need medical help urgently.
"They also don’t provide our patients with the full range of services that are available at Urgent Treatment Centres nationwide.
"An Urgent Treatment Centre will simplify things for local people and help them to access the right care when they need it, under one roof, in a sensible joined-up way, helped by a new improved NHS111 helpline.
"We would encourage everyone with an interest in their local health services to take part and get involved in our public consultation.
"Over the coming weeks, we will be out and about listening to the public's views on the proposals and we look forward to talking to you."
Last month councillors criticised travel plans for some of the proposed sites.
To share you views on the plans you can fill in a survey online or in print, attend one of the public consultation events, or invite NHS staff to come along and speak to your group or organisation.
For more information about the proposals and to download a copy of the full consultation document go to www.dartfordgraveshamswanleyccg.nhs.uk.