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Ambitious plans for urgent and emergency care services unveiled

Ambitious plans for urgent and emergency care services unveiled

Local people are being invited to have their say on bold and ambitious plans to transform urgent and emergency care services across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.

The three local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs): NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, NHS Bradford City CCG and NHS Bradford Districts CCG have unveiled a joint strategy which sets out how urgent and emergency care services in the district will develop over the next five years.

The overall aim of the strategy is for services to meet people’s needs, be high quality, clinically safe and affordable; be easy to understand and use; be responsive; and be joined up with other health and social care services.

The CCGs have started a period of public engagement which will run until the end of September so people can comment on the proposals and influence the future shape of these important local services.

Urgent and emergency care is a key focus for the NHS both locally and nationally as these services are being squeezed from all directions. The CCGs are committed to developing new ways of working to match increasing patient demand and expectations of immediate access to services that meet their needs – 24-hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

With a growing young population, particularly in the City area, and a big growth in people aged over 60 predicted in Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, there are very real challenges for current emergency departments to cope with demand over the next few years.

Dr Andy Withers, clinical chair of Bradford Districts CCG, said: “This strategy isn’t about change for change’s sake. It’s about improving the way people access and experience services, building on what works well and proposing changes to the areas that need to be improved. A key part of this is joined-up health and social care: so people can be supported with the right care at home, and reduce the demand on urgent and emergency care services.”

One of the most ambitious changes proposed is for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to develop a new major emergency care centre (MECC) to deal with major emergencies and build on its existing strengths and specialist services. It also wants to upgrade its facilities by creating an urgent care centre to focus on minor illnesses and accidents.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust is also committed to working with local partners on better ways to manage emergency care. Its plans include: developing new emergency department facilities; being more efficient in discharging patients and reducing admissions of patients with long-term conditions; and improving urgent care across the whole health community.

Dr Colin Renwick, clinical chair of Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: “Overall, our current services are rated highly by patients. They deliver good outcomes for patients and meet most targets but, increasingly, people are expecting to have 24-hour access to services, all year round, and to be able to see who they want, when they want – so we need to develop services which make it easier for people to get the right service first time.”

The strategy, which reflects the plans of all the local NHS and social care organisations involved, is not about reducing services, but about making sure that services are less fragmented and more easily accessible. It also has a strong focus on self-care, prevention and improved management of long-term conditions.

It brings together public feedback from earlier engagement work done in the district, plus national NHS best practice on developing urgent and emergency care services which are fit for the future and sustainable.

The strategy expects to deliver the following benefits:

  • improved experiences and health outcomes for patients

  • better access to primary care

  • improved quality of services

  • improved management of urgent and emergency care demand

  • a ‘right first time’ urgent and emergency care system that reduces inappropriate access

  • a reduction in hospital bed days.

Dr Aamer Khan, clinical specialty lead for urgent care at Bradford City CCG, said: “Our local emergency and urgent care system needs to be transformed to meet current pressures and future demands. All the health and social care partners in the district agree that the current system cannot be sustained unless it changes and becomes more responsive to patients’ needs.”

The strategy is available at: and people can have their say on the plans in a number of ways; by email  to: or visit the website and fill in the feedback form, or write to: CCG urgent care strategy engagement, Freepost RTEK-UHKG-UBEK, Douglas Mill, Bowling Old Lane, Bradford BD5 7JR.

Notes for editor

  • In Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven and Bradford in 2013/14 more than £124 million was spent on urgent and emergency care. If nothing changes there will be a £54 billion shortfall in funding overall for the NHS nationally in 2021/22. Locally, there is an estimated funding shortfall of around £364 million for health and social care over the next five years.

  • Bradford District’s population has been rising steadily and is expected to grow from 572,500 in 2011 to 623,000 in 2021. In Bradford City CCG’s area we anticipate a 35% increase in the number of younger people, while the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven area expects about 35% growth in people aged over 60 years. These increases challenge emergency department services, particularly those for older people who increasingly have more complex and often multiple conditions.

  • Attendances at local emergency departments have risen from 154,000 in 2004/05 to 184,000 in 2013/14 – 19% more patients without a similar increase in resources.

For further information please call Sarah Smith, communications team, on: 01274 237386.

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