A consultation has been launched into the biggest healthcare shake-up in Scarborough in recent years.
The 12-week consultation by the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will give the public chance to have their say on the future of urgent care services in the town.
Urgent care is classed as care for a sudden illness or injury that needs to be treated fast and without an appointment, but is not considered to be a 999 emergency.
The urgent care services currently provided in the Scarborough and Ryedale area include the walk-in service at Castle Health Centre, Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Malton Hospital and the GP out-of-hours service which is available in both areas between 6.30pm and 8.00am.
Around 3,000 patients access urgent care services in Scarborough and Ryedale every month.
Health bosses say the review aims to improve patient experience and ease pressure on busy accident and emergency departments.
Under the proposals, the current services would be replaced by two new urgent care centres, with one in Scarborough and one in Ryedale.
These centres would provide urgent care services to patients around the clock, with access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is hoped that the new service will launch in Spring 2015.
Dr Omnia Hefni, local GP and urgent care lead for the clinical commissioning group, said: “We have so far developed an outline of an urgent care service that we believe will make it easier for patients in need of urgent care to access the right care, first time.
“However, as our plans are still only an outline at this stage, we are inviting members of the public to help us develop them further to ensure the end result is a service that meets their needs.
“We are aware of issues with patients knowing what services exist for urgent care needs which can lead to inappropriate use of emergency services.
“This not only results in increased pressure on ambulance services and A&E departments, but can also result in poor experiences for patients from having to wait a long time to see a doctor.
“Also, two of the main contracts for existing urgent care services, which are the GP out-of-hours service and the walk-in service at Castle Health Centre in Scarborough, are due to expire in 2014.
“This means we have an ideal opportunity to look at what patients value about the current urgent care services and identify whether there are any areas for improvement.”
There are a number of ways for local residents to hear about the proposals and have their say, including a number of events scheduled to be held from February.
These include: Thursday February 20, 7pm, The Street (top of William Street car park), Scarborough; Wednesday February 26, 7pm, Ryedale District Council, Malton; Wednesday March 5, 2pm, Eastfield Community Centre; Thursday March 13, 7pm, Evron Centre, Filey.
A document and survey, titled “Right care, first time” is available from local health services and online at www.scarboroughryedaleccg.nhs.uk
There is also a video about the review.
Dr Peter Billingsley, who is leading the project alongside Dr Hefni, added: “We want to give people as many opportunities as possible to get involved.”