The update below summarises progress made on key areas of planning future healthcare services in and around Weybridge following the devastating fire at Weybridge Community Hospital in July 2017.

North West Surrey CCG and our partners have been concentrating on developing our plan for the future of out of hospital services across the region. Considering the broader landscape of urgent care services and how they can be improved is a crucial step in making sure we get the right services in Weybridge. 

This programme of work – called The Big Picture – has involved the local community and providers of health and wellbeing services through a range of events and activities since September 2018.

We have published a case for change – full and summary versions – and a produced a short film. These explain why change is needed and the emerging thinking around how we can support people to stay well for longer and reduce pressures on urgent and emergency services.

During this early phase of engagement we have reached over 500 people and discussed the challenges facing local services due to rising demand from a growing and aging population, tighter budgets and difficulties in recruiting the right staff.

Around 100 people attended two events held in Weybridge where we heard a range of feedback from local people telling us what is important to them when they need care urgently. This includes making care easily accessible, addressing health inequalities and the importance of guiding patients to the right place for their condition the first time.

Feedback from these events will be used to develop more concrete proposals for urgent care that will be shared in Spring 2019. After this process we will be better placed to determine the services that will eventually go into the new healthcare facility on the Weybridge hospital site.

The Weybridge rebuild group

The Weybridge rebuild group includes local NHS staff, colleagues from NHS Property Services (who are responsible for our buildings and estates) and Elmbridge Borough Council representatives. The intention is to make an application to the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership One Public Estate programme to progress planning for the Weybridge site, which is looking at community planning more generally. By bringing doing this work together we can ensure that local health and care facilities are an integral part of the wider strategic plan for the Weybridge area. Over the coming months we are aiming to develop a timeline for renovating the hospital site. As soon as more details are available on this, we will share them with you.

Urgent Treatment Centres

There have also been some developments in existing urgent care services that will deliver benefits to patients. In November 2018, the current Urgent Care Centre at St Peter’s Hospital became a GP-led Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC). These are being rolled out nationally and St Peter’s Hospital was in the first wave of Trusts to transition over to this new model. 

The UTC treats all minor illnesses and injuries requiring immediate care but which are not life threatening. There are many benefits for patients including longer opening hours (the St Peter’s UTC is open from 8am – 2am every day), pre-booked, same day and walk-in appointments, treatment for children of all ages as well as adults and access to tests (e.g. X-ray). The UTC can also connect people to specialist services including psychiatric support for people in a mental health crisis.

The idea behind UTCs is to standardise a confusing range of options for patients – e.g. walk-in centres, urgent care centres, minor injury units – so people know where to go and are clear which services are on offer where. There’s quite a big difference however between existing walk-in facilities and the new standards for UTCs. As part of our work looking at urgent care and out of hospital services we are working with residents to consider the best way to bridge this gap.

A new NHS 111 service

A new NHS 111 service for Surrey is launching next spring. The new service will make it easier for people to get help from the most appropriate local service. Callers won’t have to answer as many questions when they call 111 and it will also be easier to get clinical advice and appointments booked directly with other healthcare services.

Rethinking our out of hospital services is a complex process to get right. We are grateful to Weybridge residents and our partners for their ongoing patience and interest and hope we can continue to work together to plan services that will meet the needs of local people now and in the future.