Wednesday, November 26, 2014

News: Kier selected for Rotherham Urgent Care Centre

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Kier Construction has been selected as the principal supply chain partner for the £12.2m Urgent Care Centre that is set to be built at Rotherham Hospital.

The Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group, which buys in services from providers, has signed off the final business case for the project which secured planning permission earlier this year.

The proposals for a new NHS Urgent Care Centre in Rotherham involve the closure of the Town Centre Walk in Centre on Greasborough Road and transfer of the GP out of hours service to a new purpose built Urgent Care Centre on the Hospital site.

Patients who currently walk into Accident & Emergency (A&E) at the hospital will in future access care through the proposed urgent care centre. It is set to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This coincides with the increased use of the NHS 111 telephone number as a single point of access to care so that telephone triage will play a greater part in directing patients to urgent or GP care.

Earlier this month, the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, that serves the health needs of the borough and delivers care at Rotherham Hospital, reported that it is currently under extreme pressures with a high volume of patients attending A&E, a department that is currently operating at a £1.1m deficit. The current A&E department was built to accommodate 55,000 attendees each year but activity now exceeds 75,000 patients. One of the main drivers of the new urgent care centre is to reduce recurring costs by reducing admissions to A&E by five per day.

Plans were drawn up by Gilling Dod Architects, working with Kier Construction who where selected via the ProCure21+ National Framework, and the new integrated service will comprise a two storey development with an overall floor area of approximately 1,850 sq m, linked to the main hospital. The ground floor will provide clinical accommodation and the upper floor will provide office and staff supporting accommodation. The new extension has been designed to complement the hospital's existing main entrance that was redeveloped in 2011.

Staffed by highly skilled clinicians across the emergency department and primary care, the integration of skilled staff is expected to ensure that the most appropriate clinician will see the patient, reducing the need for handovers between staff and improving the patient flow. However the options proposed involve cutting the recurring costs for clinical staff from £5.5m to £4.6m. The Trust expects to be in a position to employ additional advanced care practitioners (ACPs) in place of middle grade doctors.

During consultation, concerns were raised by the council and members of the public regarding transport and parking issues at the hospital site. The proposals include a total of 122 car parking spaces, for use by staff, being provided on the former mental health site at the Eastern side of the hospital site, close to Moorgate Road. This is set to free up spaces in the main public car park.

The business case states: "While travel times and expense for patients will, on the whole, slightly increase as a result of relocating urgent care from a town centre location, but this is outweighed by the quality benefits that will result."

The existing £9.9m building operated by Care UK on the Greasborough Road site, which sees around 4,000 patients a month, will continue to offer a town centre GP surgery. An estimated 50% of current activity will transfer to the new emergency centre with Care UK set to continue as provider. All of the other NHS and community services are expected to remain on site, including family planning/sexual health services and clinics. Some other non‐acute provision could be relocated to the centre.

Construction on the new facilities is set to begin in the spring of 2015 and it could start treating patients in April 2017.

Adjacent to the Moorgate site, Kier Construction is also leading on the multimillion pound rebuild at Oakwood High School.

Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group website

Images: Gilling Dod Architects

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