A hospital campaigner says he wants to see proper consultation on proposed changes to urgent care provided at Newark Hospital.
Mr Paul Baggaley, secretary of the Say Yes To Newark Hospital campaign group, said people should have been better informed of proposals by Newark and Sherwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to develop an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at the hospital.
The UTC, which it is proposed would begin operating at the end of March, would be staffed by a mix of GP doctors, emergency nurse practitioners and advanced nurse practitioners.
It would continue to treat the same illnesses and injuries as it does now and would still be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A spokesman for Newark and Sherwood CCG said: “It is intended that there will be a walk-in service available 24 hours a day, with an option of making a pre-booked GP appointment via NHS 111.
“The Urgent Treatment Centre will treat all minor illnesses and minor injuries in adults and children.”
The spokesman said the proposed changes did not represent a downgrade.
“[The] range of qualified and trusted staff ensures that patients are treated by the most appropriate clinicians, based on clinical needs,” she said.
“Systems and processes will better link in with those of general practice and the wider community teams to ensure continuity of care for patients and carers.
“The clinicians at the Urgent Treatment Centre will be able to see the patient’s full care record and can more easily arrange for follow-up appointments with community teams such as district nursing.”
The spokesman said the CCG was working with Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Found-ation Trust on the future of hospital doctors working at the UTC.
She said the changes would have no impact on the type of ambulance patient it could receive as it would still be able to treat all minor injuries and illnesses.
A drop-in session to answer questions about the proposals will be held in Newark Town Hall on Wednesday from 10am to noon.
'They should use proper consultation'
Mr Baggaley criticised the timing.
“I can’t get to it,” he said. “There are lots of people who will not be able to go.
“They should use proper consultation and they should spell out what the changes are.”
Mr Baggaley said he felt the proposals represented little change to what was already available.
“If they are genuinely saying it is still going to be open 24/7 and you can book appointments with GPs then little has changed,” he said.
“These changes haven’t been communicated to the people of Newark, and they should have been before it went to the scrutiny committee.”
The new model of urgent care was presented to a meeting of the the county council’s health scrutiny committee in November.
Commenting on the perceived lack of communication, the spokesman said the CCG had further drop-in sessions planned for February, at different times of the day and at different locations, to provide further updates.
It said it had publicised Wednesday’s meeting by sending details of it to the chairmen of primary care patient participation groups to share with patients at their GP practices.
It also sent details to organisations including parish councils, libraries, Newark and Sherwood Community and Voluntary Service, Newark and Sherwood Voluntary and Community Sector Health Forum, GP practice managers, pharmacies, Nottinghamshire Healthwatch, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust members and Newark Town Hall to display on its noticeboard.
It also publicised the meeting on its website.