Green light to UTC move - but not until 2021

Plans to relocate Peterborough’s Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and GP Out of Hours Service to the city hospital site will go ahead – but not before next April at least.
Picture of entrance to Peterborough Urgent Treatment Centre

The decision was made yesterday at the Governing Body meeting of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). And follows a public consultation about the move – including feedback from our Healthwatch.

The move, from the City Care Centre in Thorpe Road to the hospital in Bretton, aims to provide an integrated urgent and emergency care service at one site.

Over 1000 people gave their views about the proposal in an online survey. Our Healthwatch also responded, passing on the concerns of local people including:

  • the safety of hospitals during Covid-19
  • the right IT infrastructure being in place
  • parking at the hospital site

Although many felt the Thorpe Road site was better for public transport, the meeting heard that CCG travel surveys showed most people using the centre used private cars or a taxi service to get there.

The move has now been approved but more work will be done by the CCG and North West Anglia Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, to address worries about  infection control and parking and congestion.

Reassurance that health facilities are safe

Many local people said that during the pandemic, they wanted services to remain as they are because they were concerned about infection risks when visiting a hospital site.

Dr Gary Howsam, Chair of the CCG Governing Body, gave a reassurance at the meeting that health facilities across our area were safe to visit.

He urged anyone with an appointment – at a GP surgery, in a community health setting or hospital - not be frightened about the risk of picking up Covid-19.

He said all preventative measures to safeguard the public have been put in place.  

Our response to the decision

Sandie Smith, CEO of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough, said she was pleased with the decision to delay the move until 2021.

This takes account of people’s worries - and we agree with the people we heard from, that this is not the right time to move services to a hospital site.
— Our Healthwatch CEO Sandie Smith

“By April next year we should be in a better place regarding Covid-19 and hopefully hospitals will be under less pressure.

“The delay also enables the building works to be fully completed and plans to be put in to place to monitor the parking situation.”

The CCG has also taken on board Healthwatch requests to involve local people in planning for the move and to capture their experiences afterwards so that their views used to adapt the service if needed.

We have also urged that public communications clearly explain to local people what this means and who they should contact for urgent medical help, now and when the move has happened. 

Our Healthwatch Chair Val Moore has also asked the Governing Body to re-test public opinion on the main concerns before the plans go ahead.

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