Healthcare among poorest in the UK

EMERGENCY and urgent healthcare services in West Essex have been ranked amongst the poorest in the country, a review has found. The review by the Health Care Commission (HCC) found services for vulnerable adults and children and people with disabilities i

EMERGENCY and urgent healthcare services in West Essex have been ranked amongst the poorest in the country, a review has found.

The review by the Health Care Commission (HCC) found services for vulnerable adults and children and people with disabilities in West Essex amongst the worst in the UK.

The HCC reviewed accident and emergency, out-of-hours GP services, NHS Direct, urgent care provided by GPs, and urgent care centres such as walk-in centres and minor injuries units in 152 areas of the country.

The boundaries for these areas were set out by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) which deliver NHS services in their own area. West Essex PCT delivers services in Uttlesford, Harlow and Epping.


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Every PCT was assessed in three main areas: access and delivery of services; how they work together to provide effective and efficient care to patients; and how they are managed and were awarded a score on a one to five scale with five being awarded for the best performing services and one for the poorest.

The West Essex area received an overall average score of 2.67 ranking it in the lowest 18 per cent in the country.

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But it received a score of just one for services which help vulnerable adults and children, disabled people, the transfer of calls and information between services, the state of urgent and emergency care networks and the range of information it produced.

West Essex was awarded a five for the area assessing the number of out-of-hours GP calls engaged or abandoned.

The review focused on three main areas - access and delivery of services; how they work together to provide effective and efficient care to patients; and how they are managed.

Anna Walker, the Commission's chief executive, said: "People often don't know which services to use, and too often have to repeat their story time and again because services don't always share information effectively.

"Navigating between services can be difficult and confusing for patients and this can have a real impact, especially on people with more complex needs, such as older people and people with disabilities. Integrating services across a local area will help address these challenges."

But work is already afoot to add clarity to the services provided, with changes being made to the A&E department at the Princess Alexandra Hospital to ensure patients are treated at the right centre by the right people.

Jenny Minihane, director of nursing and modernisation for West Essex PCT, said: "West Essex PCT is already working with local urgent care providers to resolve the issues identified in this report.

"The report looks back over the past year and many improvements are already in place, such as expansion of the Princess Alexandra Hospital's A&E department, to improve the overall quality of service and patient experience.

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