A shake-up in health services aims to improve access to GPs in Horsham and improve care to people needing urgent treatment.
Health bosses say they are currently developing plans to improve services at Horsham Hospital’s minor injuries unit and at urgent treatment centres.
Last week a report revealed that Horsham and Mid Sussex is the second worst area in the country for GP access. Analysis by the BBC showed that the area has 2,997 patients per GP, more than double the best area - Rushcliffe. The Royal College of GPs called the findings ‘shocking.’
Horsham MP Jeremy Quin said that the report highlighted a real concern. He said that Horsham and MId Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group - which monitors and pays for local health services - was looking at ways to bolster its service. He said: “As part of this plan the CCG are looking at the potential for Horsham Hospital to become a vibrant local integrated primary and community hub: offering treatment for minor injuries and minor illness across seven days a week and later into the evenings.”
A clinical commissioning group spokesman said: “NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG is working closely with local health and care organisations to develop plans to improve the access to and quality of urgent care and GP services. This includes the recently launched evening and weekend GP appointments, as well as plans to create a consistent service for minor injuries and urgent care needs across Sussex and East Surrey.
“When a patient needs urgent treatment or care and A&E isn’t the right choice they can be confused by the range of places to go – Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs), Minor Injury Units (MIUs) and others all with differing levels of care. “We are in the early stages of redesigning these services and ways people can access care, so that there is one easy-to-navigate system for people when they need NHS help urgently.
“We want to see the best use of our community hubs such as Horsham Hospital and know there is much we can do to improve the use of this facility for the benefit of local people.
“We are reviewing the use of MIU/UTCs to understand why patients attend the services where they do. This information will help inform the type of service and opening times that may be needed in the future for the local population.
“Before we implement any changes, the CCGs are completing a thorough assessment to help us to understand how our decisions may affect people, what we need to do to better meet local needs and how what we do may impact on all communities or groups. Talking directly to our patients, as well as local clinicians, forms a critical part of this work.
“If you are unsure where to go to seek health help, telephone 111 for advice and reassurance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“Patients registered with a GP in Horsham and Mid Sussex can access evening and weekend GP appointments at a local shared hub. Appointments can be booked through the patient’s own GP practice in the normal way, during normal opening hours.
“Patients using this service may not see their usual doctor at their own practice, but clinicians working at the hubs will be able to access their medical records with their agreement.”