Our urgent and emergency care strategy

Our urgent and emergency care strategy

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23 April 2024

Our urgent and emergency care strategy aims to make sure you receive help and treatment in the place that best meets your needs and will give you the best outcomes – whether for your physical or mental health.

How will we do this?

Care closer to home

A lot of urgent care can safely be delivered outside hospital. If you need advice or treatment that can be given by services in the community, like GPs, pharmacists or mental health teams, we want you to know about these services and be able to access them quickly and easily.

Using NHS 111

We want to support you to use NHS 111 to get to the right place, first time, for whatever treatment, advice or support you need.

You can contact NHS 111 online, by phone or by using the NHS App.

Their trained staff assess your needs and direct you to the best service for help. They can book you appointments with out-of-hours GPs, consultations with pharmacists and will be able to book you appointments at urgent treatment centres (UTCs).

Services that are consistent, offer treatment quickly, and are easier to understand

Our urgent treatment centres (UTCs) will have the same name and opening hours and provide the same services. So you can feel confident about what urgent care you can access and when.

UTCs will be open at least 12 hours daily, treating patients of all ages for minor injuries and conditions, and carrying out diagnostic tests and scans. Find out more on our page about UTCs.

Integrated services: UEC as part of the bigger picture

We want our services to communicate well and work together where needed, to make sure you have good healthcare as soon as possible when you need it. This will reduce the need for emergency care and help take pressure off our UEC services. Most importantly, it will be better for people’s health and wellbeing.

Avoiding hospital admissions and supporting your independence

A hospital bed is not always the best place for you – for older people especially, there are many negative impacts of staying in hospital. So we will support you to stay in your community and home where possible.

If you do have an urgent hospital admission, as well as giving you the treatment you need, we will plan what is needed for you to get home as soon as safely possible, so you do not lose your abilities for daily living.

Supporting you to look after your health

We will share guidance about situations where it’s sensible to look after yourself and manage your symptoms at home, and when and where to seek help if symptoms get worse.

Partnership working

As an ICB, we have worked with our system partners (like the provider trusts) to build our urgent and emergency care (UEC) strategy. We will keep on working in partnership, not only within health and social care but also with other partners like those in the voluntary sector. We know that our services are stronger when we work together.