Health leaders in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are speaking out to reassure patients that proposals to change urgent and emergency care services are designed to improve care for patients by providing them with convenient and appropriate alternatives to waiting in A&E if they have an urgent, but minor ailment.
Details of the five-year Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) were released in December 2016, which included proposals to consider ways to reshape a number of services to make them more responsive to the needs of patients.
Dr Bill Gowans, Medical Director for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent STP, said: “The STP allows us to look at how we can improve healthcare across the county – including accident & emergency (A&E) and minor injuries units (MIUs).
“Some of that means thinking differently about the role our hospitals play in people’s local health needs and we appreciate the strength of local feeling on this subject.
“We all know that A&Es are busy and that patients requiring urgent medical help can sometimes experience long waiting times, especially in winter. We need to talk about adapting our services to increase the benefits to patients of different types of care.
“Many people have healthcare needs which need to be met urgently but which are not emergencies. Patients do not want to spend hours in an A&E if their condition is not an emergency but they still can’t wait for treatment.
“This is why we regularly review our services to ensure that we meet the needs of our changing population and take advantage of the latest technologies and innovations, as well as talking about potential changes with local people.
“But there is further work to be done. No major decisions have been made and they will only be made via a consultation process, following more conversations and engagement with the public.”