Why do we need to change?

People are confused about where to go

NHS services in Sunderland are too complicated and people often tell us that they do not know where to go.

People want joined up care and they would prefer to see their GP for same day urgent appointments.

Demand keeps on growing

Over the last ten years, demand for health services has continued to grow. Historically additional services were opened one by one to cope with increasing demand – and this is why the urgent care centres were opened.

Urgent care centres were designed to take the strain away from accident and emergency (A&E) but this is not working. More and more people are still going to A&E (now called the emergency department). Two in three people who go to A&E, either don’t need treatment or are transferred back to their GP (using data from January to December 2017).

We need to do something different, as we cannot keep services as they are now. The A&E emergency department needs to be kept free so people with life threatening emergencies can be seen quickly. This is one of the reasons why the name A&E has been changed to emergency department.

We need to spend our money more wisely

We have too many services that are providing similar services at the same time. This causes confusion about the best place to go and is not a good use of our limited NHS resources.

We need to make sure that we spend money wisely across the NHS system in order to secure NHS services for the future. We believe that we can get greater value for money if we invest more of this money supporting GP practices and other services outside of hospitals.

There are now more services available in your community

The NHS and social care services have been working more closely together in Sunderland to provide better services in the community. Called ‘All Together Better’, this approach is making sure services delivered out of hospital are joined up and deliver effective, seamless care that the people of Sunderland deserve.

Examples of this work include:

  • Recovery at Home Service: this team responds quickly to provide intensive support to those who need more help while they are getting back to normal after a short term illness or injury in their own home, a care home or on discharge from hospital
  • GP home visiting service: from 1 October 2018, GPs will also be part of the Recovery at Home team. They will visit people who need a home visit and support the nurses when people visit when they are unable to get to their GP practice. This service will free up GP time so they can focus on patients with complex health needs
  • Mental health services: a crisis team visits people in their homes when they are experiencing a mental health crisis. Services are also available at Sunderland Royal Hospital

We are recruiting and training more GPs and nurses

Like many other areas, Sunderland has a shortage of GPs and nurses, but we are working hard to attract more GPs and nurses to the city and encourage them to stay.

Examples include:

  • GP career start scheme: newly qualified GPs can get extra peer support when taking on their first job in a practice
  • Practice nurse career start scheme: this scheme is similar to the GP career start scheme
  • Working with universities: developing training programmes with placements in GP practices. These are now taking place in Sunderland to help staff understand the benefits of working in GP practices. Also the University of Sunderland is to open a school of Medicine in 2019

National policy

As a CCG, we have to follow national guidance and policies, set by NHS England. NHS England has said that urgent and emergency care must be reviewed to ensure:

  • Care is suitable for people of all ages with physical and mental health issues
  • Each area must have an urgent treatment centre (more information on page 17). This service needs to be easy for people to access and joined up with other services. This is why it is recommended that these should be located alongside the emergency department (A&E) because it means it is easier to work together more effectively
  • The improved NHS 111 service (available from 1 October 2018) which includes a team of clinicians working together to give advice for physical and mental health needs. Giving advice over the phone will free up face-to-face appointments in GP practice
  • GP practices are working together to provide more GP appointments. Our proposals build upon the work already being delivered by local GP practices