New walk-in centre to be located at hospital

144609a'Scarborough Hospital scenesetters'Picture by Neil Silk'11/11/14
144609a'Scarborough Hospital scenesetters'Picture by Neil Silk'11/11/14

Scarborough’s new walk-in urgent care centre will be on the Scarborough Hospital site alongside A&E, it has been announced.

The plans are being put in place by NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group following a consultation into the future of urgent care and out-of-hours provision across the area.

The group has also announced that the contract for providing the service has been awarded to Northern Doctors Urgent Care, part of the Vocare Group.

The new service will replace the walk-in service at the Castle Health Centre in York Place, which stopped at the start of October and has since been offering a nurse-led, appointment-based service instead.

Dr Peter Billingsley, local GP and the commissioning group’s lead for the project, said: “The fact that we have successfully commissioned a trusted and highly experienced urgent care provider in the form of Northern Doctors Urgent Care will bring huge benefits for patient care in the area.

“I firmly believe that the best urgent care services are co-located with A&E and the Malton Minor Injuries Unit.

“There is better knowledge in the local community and less need for patients to decide which service to access.

“It avoids the ‘shall I go here or shall I go there’ dilemma which was raised by many people during our engagement exercise.

“It will ensure we achieve our main aim of helping patients to get the right care, first time.”

However, some people have raised concerns about the location of the new service.

Cllr Colin Challen, who led a petition in support of the Castle Health Centre, said: “I think the public consultation has just been a box ticking exercise and that they wanted it at the hospital all along.

“We effectively will no longer have a walk-in centre in Scarborough. I think it will be absorbed into A&E and the general service provided at the hospital.

“But this is what has happened up and down the country - it seems to be the model for it.”

Leo McGrory, patient representative on the Castle Health Centre board, said: “I think the centre was better located in town - moving it out of town seems a step backward.

“I’m sure people will miss the centre in town - people have been asking me regularly what’s going to happen with it.”

Mr McGrory added that he was not certain whether Castle Health would stay open as a GP surgery for registered patients only, or whether it could close.

Sir Michael Carlisle, chairman of Healthwatch North Yorkshire, said: “I’m glad there is something definite being proposed, but questions do arise.

“I hope that in six to 12 months a careful review will take place into how the centre in working.”

Robert Peacock, a lay member on the Healthwatch board, added: “It’s important that the people who used the Castle Health Centre are not marginalised.

“Transport issues, parking and the support people will receive is key.”

Free parking spaces have been proposed on the hospital site for urgent care users as part of the plans.

The new service will launch on April 1, 2015.

A public meeting will be held about the plans on Tuesday 13 January, 6.30pm at Scarborough Library. Another will be held in Malton at a later date in January.