Professor Sir Bruce Keogh’s national Urgent and Emergency Care Review called for the transformation of services to address the unsustainable pressures on the urgent and emergency care system and offered recommendations to deliver transformation. In London, we have made significant strides in improving urgent and emergency services. We now need to build on these efforts and draw from the Keogh review to accelerate transformation and deliver high quality, safe urgent and emergency care, seven days a week.
Londoners have told us that the current Urgent and Emergency Care system is confusing to navigate and characterised by queues. Our vision is therefore to improve patient outcomes and experience through high quality and consistent urgent and emergency care services that are available seven days a week.
This means responding to Londoners and ensuring services are clear, consistent, coordinated and instil confidence, by connecting patients to the appropriate clinical expertise. For people with urgent care needs, continuing to develop an integrated service is vital to help them get the right advice in the right place, first time.
It is therefore important that we do not just focus on accident and emergency departments, but a much broader system of services that include NHS 111 and primary care. It will allow people requiring urgent care to be seen or receive advice close to home, improving satisfaction and reducing confusion, while reducing pressure on our accident and emergency departments. For those with more serious needs we must ensure access to high quality care in appropriate facilities with the right expertise.
This document complements ongoing work to transform NHS 111 and primary care and outlines the Urgent and Emergency Care Facilities and System specifications, another piece of the jigsaw to deliver the vision for Urgent and Emergency Care. Developed by the London Clinical Leadership Group, the Urgent and Emergency Care facilities and system specifications represent the minimum standard of care that patients can expect when they access face-to-face urgent and emergency care services.
The recently developed Urgent and Emergency Care Networks in London will play a vital role in taking this vision forward and making it a reality for Londoners. As part of wider strategic planning, Networks will be responsible for overseeing the development of plans to deliver services in line with these specifications and provide a forum for clinicians, commissioners, and other stakeholders to collaborate in sharing responsibility and finding solutions for the pressures that our urgent and emergency care system faces in London.
It is recognised that this transformation won’t happen overnight, but with the commitment and collective effort shown in developments to date we’re confident that the aspiration made in Better Health for London, the report published by the London Health Commission, to create the best health and care services of any world city and close the gap in care between those admitted to hospital on weekdays and at weekends by 2020 can be achieved.
NOV 2017 SPECIFICATION UPDATED: In July 2017, NHS England published ‘Urgent Treatment Centres – Principles and Standards’ setting out the principles and standards that Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and local commissioners should achieve when establishing urgent treatment centres as part of their local integrated urgent and emergency care system. Two years on, with further information released, London has reviewed its urgent care centre facility specifications against national Urgent Treatment Centre Guidance and updated the London UEC facilities and system specifications.