HEREFORD needs a market town type “community hospital” to ease the pressure on urgent care services in the city, a health watchdog says.

Healthwatch Herefordshire also wants 8am-8pm GP cover to meet urgent care needs across the county.

Responding to the results of the Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group survey of health services in the county, the watchdog stressed that local patients wanted a “local” service.

Paul Deneen, Chair of the Healthwatch Herefordshire board, was present at each of the CCG’s seven survey events over autumn that attracted thousands of responses released today (Tues).

Mr Deenen said Healthwatch had drawn its own conclusions from the survey, the most obvious of which was local patients wanting a local service.

This, said Mr Deenen, could be  delivered by GPs 8am -  8pm  Monday to Friday with scope for out of hours and weekend cover.

Minor Injuries Units (MIUs), led by a nurse, should also be accommodated within this model, at community hospitals and/ or GP surgeries, he said.

Healthwatch sees two wider priorities in “educating” patients to use GP and Nurse led MIU’s rather than A&E and “consideration” for community hospital and MIU facility serving Hereford city.

More, too, needed to be delivered regarding the "prevention" agenda and support for schools and colleges on issues related to health and wellbeing, said Mr Deenen.

The CCG says  frontline evidence from patients and staff alike shows urgent care services in the county need improving.

Survey results out today (Tues) show the CCG received “ thousands “of stories, ideas and comments through its workshops  held over autumn in Hereford and the market towns to determine the future for health services in the county.

Building on the workshop findings, the CCG plans further public events over Spring to examine - in more detail -  what an improved future service could look like.