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Healthcare hub services – have your say

3rd February 2017 | By Melanie Shilton | Posted in

Patients in Leicester are being asked for their views on the Leicester City Healthcare Hubs, including the location of a potential fourth hub to replace the walk-in centre at Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre when the contract comes to an end later this year. This comes as Leicester City CCG prepares to put the hubs in place as permanent services from April 2017.
The healthcare hubs located at Westcotes Health Centre, Belgrave Health Centre and Saffron Health have been in place as a pilot service since September 2015, offering appointments with a GP or prescribing nurse during evenings, weekends and bank holidays to patients registered with any Leicester City practice. The Westcotes hub has recently extended its opening hours to 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, in preparation for it to become a community healthcare hub providing diagnostic services to patients in the community.
The contract for the walk-in centre based at the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre, is due to end on September 30, 2017. It is proposed to replace the walk-in centre with a community healthcare hub similar to services soon to be offered at the Westcotes hub.
The CCG has developed two options on where the proposed new hub could be located and is now inviting patients, their carers and members of the public to share their views on the changes.
The hub could be located at the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre offering a small range of diagnostic services. A further option is for it to be located at Leicester General Hospital, where there is potential for it to have the ability to carry out observations on patients as well as more advanced diagnostics in the future.
If the General Hospital site is the preferred option for the fourth hub, it would not be ready by 1st October. In the short-term the hub would be located at Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre, before moving to the General Hospital at some point in the future.

The majority of appointments at the healthcare hubs are pre-booked either on the same day or up to 48 hours in advance. Having a timed slot keeps waiting times to a minimum and it means health professionals’ time can be used effectively. Recognising that not everyone has the ability to book an appointment in advance, the hubs could offer some appointments on a walk-in basis. The CCG also wants to understand whether people agree that this focus on timed appointments is better for patients and what proportion of appointments this should be.
These proposals only affect the walk-in centre. If it is decided that the fourth hub will be located at Leicester General Hospital, the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre will continue to serve the community and be the location for many other health services including the three existing GP practices, the community pharmacy and a wide range of specialist clinics.
Professor Azhar Farooqi, Chair of Leicester City CCG, said: “No decisions have been made on the location for the fourth healthcare hub and we would like to know where city patients think it should be located, at Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre or the Leicester General Hospital site. We will use the feedback we collect during this period of engagement, alongside detailed costings and feasibility assessments, to help us decide on the preferred option.

“Most appointments at the hubs are pre-booked so that a patient has a timed slot and does not have to wait. We do understand that not everyone is able to book in advance and for this reason there will be some appointments for patients who prefer to walk-in and wait to be seen. We would very much like to hear from patients how they would prefer to use hub services – booking an appointment in advance or being able to walk in and wait to be seen.

“The existing three healthcare hubs have been very popular with patients, providing around 1500 extra appointments per week, during evenings weekends and bank holidays, and more recently in the daytime as well. The addition of this fourth hub will increase that capacity even further to around 2300 appointments each week.”
Patients and members of the public have until Sunday 19th March, 2017 to have their say and can do so in the following ways:
• Complete the survey online at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HChubs
• Request a copy of the survey and supporting proposal document to be posted to you by telephoning 0116 295 1123 and return it to us using the freepost address
A copy of the supporting document can also be found here

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