NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is calling on local people to share their views on the proposed relocation of the borough’s GP out of hours (GPOOH) service.

This change would see the service moved from Waters Meeting Health Centre to a new location on the Royal Bolton Hospital site.  It would continue to operate independently from A&E.  Patients would still be seen on an appointment only basis and would need to call the GPOOH service for an initial assessment.  The other services based at Waters Meeting Health Centre, including GP practices, will not be affected.

The CCG believes that a relocation of this service will improve patient care by improving links between GPOOH and A&E, allowing for more streamlined transfers for patients who need them.

At busy times, there is limited space at Waters Meeting Health Centre in terms of both the consulting rooms and the patients’ waiting area.  Relocation would allow the CCG to identify more suitable premises and potentially improve patient experience. The Royal Bolton Hospital is in a central location, with good public transport links and car parking facilities.

NHS England has recently issued national guidance suggesting that GPOOH services should be based on the same site as A&E departments.  Many areas already work in this way.

Su Long, Chief Officer at the CCG, said:

“We believe that relocating the GP out of hours service could have real benefits but we are keen to hear the views of local people before any decision is made.  I encourage everyone to complete our survey. We want to hear what you think and how this change could affect you.”

“NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group is committed to making sure that patients are seen by the right person, at the right place and time. This is essential if we are to improve patient safety and the quality of care.  A more centrally located GP out of hours service may help to ease pressure at our busy A&E department.”

The CCG has attended GPOOH and A&E to talk face to face to patients using these services and hopes to hear from many more people via an online survey.  This is available via the CCG website at www.boltonccg.nhs.uk/patient-zone/public-engagement/current-engagements-and-consultations.