The Beacon Health Centre at St Mary’s Hospital is to close in its current form from Saturday (1st October), with a new ‘Urgent Care Service’ taking its place designed to only see patients with urgent care needs and those who have been advised to attend by a medical professional such as a doctor, pharmacist, dentist, optician or the NHS 111 service.
Leaders of the 2 main NHS bodies on the Island – the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust – have this week written an open letter to the Island about changes to the Beacon Health Centre and the new Urgent Care Service (UCS).
In the letter Dr John Rivers, CCG Chairman and Dr Mark Pugh, Executive Medical Director at Isle of Wight NHS Trust say:
“Beacon Health Centre has built a good reputation and is, we know, much appreciated by Islanders and visitors to the Isle of Wight. However with the shortage of trained GPs nationally and increased difficulties in recruiting GPs to the Island we are having to put in place arrangements to ensure that a clinically safe and high quality urgent care service is provided …..
They go on to say that:
“….With effect from 1st October we want to encourage Islanders and others to a greater understanding that the UCS is for those who have been advised by a health professional – doctor, dentist, optician, or pharmacist – or the NHS 111 service – to visit the UCS.
“In the past the majority of those attending the Beacon Health Centre will have been seen by a GP. In the future those attending the UCS, depending on their needs, will be seen by a nurse, a community practitioner or a GP. This enables us to maintain the service and at the same time make the best use of the staff resource available to Isle of Wight NHS Trust as providers of the service.
“The key message for Islanders and visitors to the Isle of Wight is that those attending the UCS will have tried other services first”.
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References to the ‘Beacon Centre’ will be replaced on signage, websites, leaflets and other information sources with ‘Urgent Care Service’ in the coming weeks.
Dr John Rivers has today (Wednesday) said:
“We need everybody’s support to ensure that when any of us do need urgent care it will be there for us. This means using the Urgent Care Service as appropriately as possible. As such the Urgent Care Service at St. Mary’s will in future signpost individuals to other services where the individual does not have an urgent care need and their problem can be better dealt with by another service.”
Dr Mark Pugh said:
“The next step up from Urgent Care is Emergency Care. There are no plans to change this service – which is provided by the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s or by calling a 999 ambulance. In line with our messaging about the Urgent Care Service it is important to stress to service users that they should only call 999 for life threatening situations e.g. major trauma or loss of blood, unconsciousness, chest pain, etc.”