Big NHS service expansion for Coastal West Sussex

New Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC) are being created in Chichester, Bognor Regis and Worthing in a radical health shake up so people who struggle to get GP appointments can be seen almost any time of the day.

The UTCs will be open 16 hours a day, every day of the week, at both Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals and 12 hours every day at the War Memorial Hospital in Bognor.

As well as the normal GP surgeries, new GP access hubs will open across the Coastal West Sussex region, providing appointments from 8am to 10pm during the week and clinics on a Saturday and Sunday.

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Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) oversees health provision across Adur and Worthing, Chichester and Arun.

Dr Vicky Beattie, clinical lead for urgent care at the CCG, said: “People have told us over the past three years that they find the current way services work confusing and don’t know where to go when they need urgent care for minor illnesses and injuries.

“Some people find it hard to get an urgent GP appointment when they need one.

“We don’t think this is good enough and want to make it easier for people to get the care they need.

“These plans will mean that anyone who needs an urgent appointment will be able to be seen within 24 hours – and mostly the same day.

“We will also be introducing two new Urgent Treatment Centres in area and extending the minor injury service in Bognor Regis to give people living around there better access to this type of NHS help when they need it most.

“This will all be supported by an improved NHS 111 service where people will be able to get clinically assessed over the phone and either helped there and then, booked an appointment or signposted to the right place for the care they need.

“This will mean you will only need to tell your story once and we will cut down on the number of people bouncing around before they get the help they need.

“We are confident this will be a less confusing way for services to work so that people can get the care they need quickly, and for most of the time, closer to their home.”

The more simplified NHS services are designed to mean people can book appointments at the UTCs by calling NHS 111 and would also be able to walk straight in.

There will also be an out-of-hours team of health professionals to visit people in their homes if they struggle to travel.

The plans mirror similar changes up and down the country so people can visit their GP in the evenings and at weekends.

The CCG will now engage in a procurement process for the new contract for this service, with health providers able to submit a proposal to take on the running of the GP hubs, UTCs and the visiting service.

The tender process is likely to take place this summer with the provider or providers in place by September so the new services can then be rolled out.

A number of events are planned to showcase the proposals and for people to meet the teams and find out about the plans.

People can email any questions to: [email protected]