Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today announced the temporary decision to suspend Wansbeck Urgent Care Centre between the hours of 10.00pm and 8.00am in response to winter pressures.
The trust says the measure – part of winter resilience planning across the Emergency Care Services – will release an additional 56 hours of nursing time for the emergency department per week. Some of the nursing team already rotate to The Northumbria as part of their on-going training and education so will be able to make a positive impact immediately. It says in light of relatively low numbers attending overnight, it’s working with its urgent care nursing staff to ensure their skills can be put to best use to meet demand across the trust.
“It’s not a decision we take lightly,” said Dr Jeremy Rushmer, Executive Medical Director at the trust “But the sheer number of people attending the emergency department, including many elderly and/or frail patients who are complex to assess and are in need of significant support to resolve their problems, means that we have to activate contingency plans in order to cope.
“As members of the public may be aware we broke records in terms of the number of people attending more than once last week and there are no signs of pressure letting up, once the cold snap is over. The additional staff will play a vital role in ensuring we continue to have the right skills, in the right place, at the right time; so we can continue to provide the very best care for those most in need.”
While this temporary measure is in effect any members of the public who are not in immediate need of critical of life-saving care should contact NHS 111 to seek advice 24 hours a day. Northern Doctors Urgent Care – contactable via 111 – will continue to use the centre as one of their (3) bases should an urgent GP appointment be needed overnight.