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Investment in A&E and looking to the future

You may have seen an article in the Northern Echo about the Accident and Emergency Department at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

The Trust's current strategy is to provide acute services including emergency care at Durham and Darlington.

We have announced plans to invest in our emergency care facilities in both Durham and Darlington, as well as investing in new theatres at DMH. These plans will be considered by the Board over the summer.

Last week, we agreed that more work needs to be done ahead of the Board to understand how patient pathways might look in the future, and make sure that new facilities have inbuilt flexibility where services might change.

The results of a project called SeQIHS (Securing Quality in Health Services) will be published in the autumn. This is expected to recommend changes to how some health services are provided across County Durham and the Tees Valley.

There is also national work looking at the future of urgent and emergency care, including urgent care centres, A&E, GP out of hours, ambulance services and NHS 111. The Trust will be applying to be a national vanguard provider in this work, with our local partners.

Reflecting this regional and national work, the Trust has begun "Quality First". It is one of seven projects which form our annual plan for 2015/16. It is a review of the quality and sustainability of all our services for the next 5 to 10 years to make sure we are offering patients the best possible care and treatment within the available resources.

The Quality First review has begun with meetings with A&E and acute medicine teams, because, over the last two years we have been clear that "getting care right for the emergency patient" is our key priority.

Over the next few weeks, we will also be talking to women's and children's services, trauma, planned surgery, intensive care, medical and surgical specialties.

In all of these areas we will be asking our teams to look at how services for patients are provided now, and how they could be provided in the future.

These will focus on sustainable provision, available workforce, collaborative working with other providers, improving pathways to provide a better service, and developing centres of excellence.
We will have an opportunity to discuss the work so far at a clinical event planned for 16 July.

We will publish updates as this work progresses.

As usual, I welcome your comments and questions to

Sue Jacques
On behalf of the Executive Team


'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very thankful and relieved patient'.

Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital of North Durham