RESIDENTS, health professionals and volunteers eager to discover the fate of Solihull’s walk in centre attended a recent meeting for an update on the facility.
Dr Patrick Brooke, the accountable officer of Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), gave a talk on the ‘urgent care review’ at Solihull LINk meeting last Thursday.
But despite the CCG due to take over the running of health services in the borough in five weeks’ time, the review is still within its consultation phase.
Dr Brooke assured residents that mortality rates at Solihull Hospital are ‘amongst some of the lowest’ but was keen, under the new urgent care structure, for less patients to be admitted to hospital where possible.
“My experience tells me that as soon as you’re admitted to the hospital, particularly if you’re elderly or frail, the less likely it is that you end up back in your own home,” Dr Brooke said. “I tend to look at it as the vertical, horizontal scenario - if you walk into a hospital, you are likely to walk back out...”
Dr Brooke gave a talk about Solihull’s ‘urgent care review’ at the LINk (Local Involvement Network) meeting held last week at the Family Renewal Centre in Solihull.
Solihull LINk is an independent board of volunteers who work to improve health and social care in the borough.
The urgent care structure, which is based on the Solihull Hospital site and includes services like Accident and Emergency and the walk-in centre, is currently under review by health bosses, with a view to integrating the services.
Dr Brooke discussed the idea of a ‘front door’ approach where patients can be directed to the correct service more efficiently, whether it be face to face or over the phone using a new NHS ‘soft emergency’ number.
He said the majority of patients automatically turn to A&E in an ‘emergency’ when too often there is no need.
“Again in cases involving the elderly, if they attend A&E, they will often be admitted first and then treated. While this is the right thing for hospital staff to do, it is not always the best option for the patient and there could be a better solution if they were directed to the right service from the beginning.”
Members raised concerns that there was a danger of patients becoming ‘lost’ in the new system, particularly if they are dealt with over the phone. Others raised concerns over the dangers of cost cutting and the new system suiting the community as a whole but not the individual.