War of words over planned changes at Corby Urgent Care Centre
Members of an action group set up to save Corby's Urgent Care Centre say they are '˜incredulous' over changes which are set to be approved tonight (Tuesday).
Corby CCG’s governing body will meet at 6pm to approve changes including moving from a walk-in site to an appointment-based system.
The Save Corby Urgent Care Action Group says it has grave concerns over what it describes as a “complete downgrade”.
A spokesman for the group said: “We have been asked not to call it a ‘downgrade’, but we are extremely hard-pushed to accept this is an extension of the service we have in existence.
“Being previously able to walk in to an excellent facility and then having to make an appointment instead is a reduction in service.
“We are told that there will be no need for public consultation on the downgraded service but consultation will be made on the access arrangements for the new service, even though residents were promised that full consultation on options would be provided.”
The site will be renamed the ‘Same Day Access Hub’ but the action group say the CCG’s proposals are a step back for healthcare in the area.
They added that the proposals will push many patients to KGH without even considering the centre.
The action group spokesman added: “The CCG papers suggest patients being referred to KGH could access this by public transport.
“This is an incredulous suggestion. We reject this.
“We are also gravely concerned at the proposal of using GPs in place of emergency-trained doctors and nurses.
“What impact will that have on the lives of people who rely on the UCC?”
But a spokesman for Corby CCG hit back at the action group’s claims and said services would be enhanced.
The spokesman said: “The CCG would like to assure the public that the proposed new ‘Same Day Access Hub’ will effectively offer the same services as those currently provided by the UCC.
“It will not be a “downgrade” of the service, if anything the proposal is an enhancement of services.
“Formal adoption of the plans is subject to agreement by the CCG’s governing body at a public meeting this evening.
“It is proposed that the new service will be open 8am to 8pm every day of the year, deliver on-the-day care for people with minor injuries and illness, and have access to x-ray and other diagnostics.
“The only change in service will be that it is accessed by appointment rather than the UCC’s current walk-in arrangement, with appointments arranged by specially trained navigators to ensure people are booked into the right service. “This will ensure that patients receive the right care at the right time.”
The governing body added they will ask for the public’s views on how the arrangements will work.
The spokesman said: “The CCG is committed to continuing to involve local people and will be asking for their views on exactly how the new access arrangements should work.
“From February 12 to April 8, people can participate online or by completing and posting a printed questionnaire.
“Public input will feed directly into the access and navigation elements of the contract specification for the Hub service.”
Lakeside+, which currently operates the Urgent Care Centre, says it fears the proposals will lead to a lower level of care than currently offered and could harm patients.
Lorna Garner, general manager at Lakeside+, said: “The contract for Lakeside+ Ltd has to conclude by March 31, 2019, at the latest, so we are very keen to ensure that the population of Corby continues to have an essential urgent care service beyond the term of our contract.
“Our fear is that Corby CCG’s plans will result in Corby losing its Type 3 A&E facility at the Urgent Care Centre and instead gain an appointment-only GP and minor injury service, which is a much lower level of care than it currently has.
“We also fear that patients will come to harm as a result of the loss of this A&E facility in Corby, and that the impact on Kettering General Hospital and the ambulance service has not been properly considered.
“With this level of downgrade of service, we call for the CCG to enter into public consultation.”