Department of Health

Website of the Department of Health

Please note that this website has a UK government access keys system.

Direction of travel for urgent care: A discussion document

  • Launch date:
    4 October 2006
  • Creator/s:
    Department of Health
  • Audience:
  • Copyright holder:
  • Gateway number:

People's expectations of health and social care are changing. People want to be sure that when they need care, it will be available quickly and close to or in their own homes. They want to feel that they can get the advice and care that will keep them safe. At the same time, changes in medical technologies, in IT and in the NHS and social care workforce are making it possible to seek ways of providing care differently.

Locally it makes sense to review the range of services available in each health and social care community and grasp the opportunities offered through changing technologies to provide better, faster, more accessible care for people.

We want to develop services that are more responsive to people, more efficient in the way resources are deployed and make the most of opportunities from medical and technological advances to deliver better care and support more conveniently for people.

This means a consistent way of assessing what people need when they contact services with an urgent care need, whether by telephone or in face-to-face settings. It may mean changing the way services are configured locally, re-deploying existing resources for optimal care.

Understanding how people access urgent and emergency care will help commissioners and providers shape services in a way that best responds to changing local needs and the changing healthcare environment.

We have already carried out some discussions with stakeholders. We have used that discussion to produce a Direction of Travel for Urgent Care.

This document asks for views on how we should take our thinking forward.

Update on outcome of consultation

A short review of the evidence base built up, and plans for further work to support good practice, together with a summary of the consultation responses, the outcome of the workshops, in-depth work and research evidence, pending further work on the Direction of Travel as part of the NHS Next Stage Review by Lord Darzi.

Access keys