People across west Hertfordshire are being invited to have their say on future urgent care services at St Albans City Hospital as part of a recently launched public engagement exercise that runs until Sunday 1 August.

The Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at St Albans City Hospital has been temporarily closed since April 2020 when West Herts NHS Trust staff were redeployed to support the COVID-19 response. It remains closed to avoid having people walk into St Albans City Hospital; the whole hospital needs to stay ‘COVID-19 free’ for the safety of all patients and so that planned surgery can safely take place there.

Dr Richard Pile, lead GP for urgent care at Herts Valleys CCG says: “In looking at future services at St Albans City Hospital we want to improve what we have had, and to provide a service that supports patients well into the future, sitting alongside other available services. We want to state from the outset that we’re not seeking to cut urgent care services at St Albans. What we are doing is evaluating all options fully and we are putting these to the public.”

The engagement exercise will seek people’s views on four different options:

1.      Not reopen an urgent care service at St Albans City Hospital and ask patients to continue to use other nearby services in the same way as they have been doing in the last 12 months. 

2.      Reopen the minor injury unit as it was before the pandemic, as a service that is led and delivered by senior experienced and specially trained nurses. This would not cater for minor illnesses.

3.      Open a new integrated urgent care service that would offer a minor illness and injury service. It would be led and delivered by senior experienced nurses with the support of GPs.  It would offer some additional diagnostic services on top of x-rays. Appointments would be through the NHS111 service or GPs. There would be no walk-in patients.

4.      Open a new urgent treatment centre that would provide a comprehensive urgent illness and injury service with a broader range of diagnostic services. It would be led and delivered by GPs with the support of senior and qualified nurses and health care assistants. It would offer both walk-in and booked appointments. 

The CCG’s preferred option is Option 3 – a new integrated care hub - because it would provide the flexibility to design an enhanced minor injury and illness service that can meet local needs without overstretching resources. This option would also allow the service to be run on an ‘appointment only’ basis. Booked appointments ensure that patients are seen quickly by the right person and allows spacing of patients throughout the day to avoid bottlenecks of people attending at particular times, which in turn allows better infection control.

To take part in the survey, please go to:
https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90355210/urgent-care-at-st-albans

For more information:
https://hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/public-engagement