Doctors leading the Better Health Programme believe that, in
the future, specialist emergency care could be provided from fewer
sites, if the NHS in Darlington Durham and Tees is to deliver a
high quality service.
They also emphasised that no decisions have been made about
changes to where care should be provided in the future.
GP and clinical lead Neil O'Brien said: "The view of the
clinical leadership of the programme is that having the right
workforce available to meet patients' needs 24/7 means we need to
look at specialist emergency care
for adults and children being provided from fewer sites.
"We will be looking seriously at the case for each of the four
hospitals in Darlington, Durham
and Tees which currently provide A&E being one of up to
three emergency centres offering
an enhanced level of care in the future.
"Examples where patients benefit from specialist emergency
care include treatment for very
serious injury and for heart attack, stroke and internal
"The programme is reaching an important stage, with work
beginning to develop and assess
"Some people believe that organisations have already made key
decisions which will
determine how services will be provided in future. This is not
"The Better Health programme has been created to bring
together local NHS organisations
to create area wide solutions which address challenges that,
until now, individual
organisations have been trying to tackle on their own.
"No decisions have been made."
During July, the Better Health programme is embarking on a
further series of events to
engage with the public and stakeholders.
Dr O'Brien said:"We are doing a lot of work talking to local
people and groups about the programme and the
issues driving it, and this is continuing over the summer. So
far, most people have been supportive of our broad direction of
travel. People understand the benefits of specialist care and that
this improves results, even though it may mean further travel for
"There is also a lot of support for the NHS providing more
services closer to home, and working together more effectively with
social care and the voluntary sector."