East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) newsletter
HOSC satisfied Hastings walk-in centre proposals no longer constitute a ‘substantial variation in services’
The updated proposals for the future of the Hastings walk-in centre do not constitute a substantial variation to services, HOSC recently agreed.
The NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) had published plans in March 2018 to close the walk-in centre located at Hastings Station Plaza but agreed revised proposals at their joint governing body meeting on 25 September to turn the walk-in centre into a primary care led hub instead.
HOSC considered these revised proposals at its most recent meeting. During the meeting the Committee asked what the difference was between the new service and the current walk-in centre.
Jessica Britton, Managing Director of the CCGs, explained that the key differences people would notice would be an earlier closing time of 6:30pm rather than 8:00pm – due to very low demand after 6:30pm and the availability of GP extended access appointments on site – and the shift from a GP-led to an advance nurse practitioner-led service. This would mean patients attending the hub would see an advanced nurse practitioner in the first instance, who would be able to manage a wide range of need, but they would be able to see a GP if they needed to.
The Committee asked whether this meant patients without a registered GP would find it difficult to access one at the hub.
Jessica Britton said that research showed the majority of patients using the walk-in centre are registered with a GP. This means that they have access to a GP if required but choose to use the walk-in centre for various reasons. There are, however, a small number of unregistered patients who use the walk-in centre and arrangements will be in place to ensure that they can access a GP at the hub if required.
Jessica Britton added that the new hub would introduce a range of non-medical services, such as social prescribing and mental health services, enabling patients to access these services at the Station Plaza rather than being signposted to other services around Hastings. She stressed this would not be in place at the start of the new service in December but would be added over time.
Having considered the CCGs report and responses to its questions, the Committee agreed that the proposals for Hastings Station Plaza did not constitute a substantial variation, meaning that the CCGs would not need to consult formally with the HOSC ahead of implementing the proposals, as required under health legislation.
The primary care led hub will be established from 1 December 2019 for a test period until April 2021, after which time a permanent service will be commissioned based on the findings of the test period.
HOSC asked for a follow up report on the primary care led hub at its 25 June 2020 meeting that will also include the details of the proposed permanent service for the site.
You can read the full discussion in the minute of the 26 September meeting.