Transforming Urgent Care Services

The 'Big Conversation'

The ‘Big Conversation’ ran from 21 May – 6 August. The purpose of this conversation was to understand from local people their experiences of urgent care and what matters to them when they have an urgent care need.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the ‘Big Conversation’, it is really important for us to understand what is important to local people and use this insight to inform options for the future of urgent care.

The conversation ran over two phases. During the first phase we held 9 public meetings, visited 19 community groups and ran two online ‘Cover it Live’ sessions. During this first phase we reached 538 people. Our second phase was via a survey. The survey was designed to test out with local people some of the things we had heard from the first phase and to reach a wider audience. We received 1778 responses to our survey. In total we have reached 2316 people – 0.5% of the CCG’s population.

The full engagement report can be viewed here.

What has been happening since 6 August?

The full engagement report and a report on a provider survey have been produced (see above).

An appraisal framework to shortlist potential options has been developed.

Local clinicians have been considering the results of the Big Conversation and all of the data about how people use urgent care services, to inform potential options.

As part of our ongoing assurance process, members of the CCG met with regional NHS England (NHSE) colleagues who scrutinised our progress to date on this programme of work. NHSE gave us very positive feedback about the ‘Big Conversation’ and was assured of our approach and the actions taken to date. However, they advised the CCG to extend its original timeline to allow additional time to model the options as well as continued engagement of all stakeholders once the options and modelling has been completed.

Next Steps

A paper was presented to the CCG Governing Body (GB) meeting on Wednesday 10 October, taking into account the advice from NHSE and the feedback from the ‘Big Conversation’ that people would rather see their GP first if they had an urgent care need. The Governing Body reviewed the original timescales proposed and decided to revise these as follows:

The revised timeline allows the CCG to follow a robust process of continuing to work closely with partners to develop potential service model options and undertake the complex modelling required supporting these. It will also allow general practice plans to be fully taken into account in line with feedback from the ‘Big Conversation’. Other areas of work currently taking place across the system, for example the estates strategy can also be accounted for in the potential service models.

If the final options require a consultation, the CCG will launch a full public consultation from 16 May – 11 July 2019.


The video below (presented by Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair of East Berkshire CCG) describes what we mean by urgent care, outlines what we are doing and why we are having these conversations and the challenges we are facing locally.

In East Berkshire we have some exciting opportunities to improve the way that health and care is delivered to residents across Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead, Ascot and Bracknell.

Our aim is to work with local people to design changes that make sense for patients, communities and the taxpayer.  The CCG knows that the population needs and issues are different in each of our localities, so we will have conversations in local areas about what needs to change.

The first in a series of conversations will focus on what happens if you have an urgent health need or concern.  We want to understand what is important to local people about urgent care services.

Urgent care services are for people who have an injury or illness that needs attention the same day, but it is not life-threatening or life changing. These services are currently provided by a number of health professionals, including GPs, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and others.

We will be speaking to those who use urgent care and those most likely to be affected by any changes.  We will then review everything that we have heard and will use the feedback to develop our proposals going forward.  Should we come to the conclusion that we need to develop proposals for major service change we would put these proposals forward for public consultation later in the summer.

We have published an Issues Paper  to provide information to support you to take part in the conversations about urgent care and sets out a number of challenges faced by the NHS locally.

The CCG has a good track record of improving local services which impact positively on health outcomes for patients.  Examples of this are;

  • commissioning a new stroke service which has improved waiting times for people requiring urgent treatment
  • providing weekend and evening appointments in general practice, giving residents increased access
  • commissioning an improved NHS 111 service with more clinical assessment and advice

We need to understand your views to improve the local NHS even more.