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Patients had the opportunity to enjoy a wildlife walk and a selection of talks at the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Patient Party on Wednesday, 31 July.

Approximately 60 attendees from Colchester and Tendring met at the Essex Wildlife Trust Headquarters at Abbotts Hall Farm, Great Wigborough, to hear more about the CCG’s ‘Wild Wellbeing’ work with the organisation, together with a talk on the Urgent Treatment Service which is launching in the autumn. There was also a chance for patients to sample ‘wild wellbeing’ with a guided tour of the beautiful countryside surrounding the farm.

Patients learning outdoor skills at Abbotts Hall Farm

The Wild Wellbeing project received £90,000 of funding from the CCG and is aimed at connecting children and young people with outdoor activities to improve their health and wellbeing, providing early intervention for mental health issues. The Essex Wildlife Trust works with 20 schools in Tendring and Colchester, delivering eight week long programmes. The children who take part have been selected by the school as being in most need of support and each child is accompanied by a family member to give a shared experience that they can benefit from. Community360, through the NEE Children’s Partnership Board, is working collaboratively as the lead provider with the following partners – Essex Wildlife Trust, the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS), Colchester Borough Council, One Colchester, and local schools to deliver this fantastic opportunity to children and young people.

Attendees also heard about the new Urgent Treatment Service, launching in autumn 2019. The Urgent Treatment Service Collaborative includes the CCG, Anglian Community Enterprise, GP Primary Choice, East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), the East of England Ambulance Service, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), and Care UK.  The collaborative has brought all urgent care together and this includes new Urgent Treatment Centres at Colchester Hospital and Clacton Hospital, as well as the Urgent Treatment Centre (minor injuries only) at Fryatt Hospital, Harwich.

The Urgent Treatment Centre at Colchester Hospital will be built next to the Emergency Department (A&E) and will replace the walk-in centre in Turner Road. The Urgent Treatment Centre at Clacton Hospital will replace the current Minor Injuries Unit but will remain on the same site. The minor injuries service at Fryatt Hospital, Harwich, will continue to be available to assess and treat minor injuries and will also remain on the same site.  

Urgent minor injury services will typically treat problems such as suspected broken limbs, strains and sprains, cuts and grazes, bites and stings, scalds and burns, and minor head injuries. Urgent minor illness services will treat patients with conditions including ear, throat or skin infections and exacerbation of long-term conditions. 

Patients listening to the Essex Wildlife Trust talk

Patients can get advice about which service is best for their needs by calling 111. Patients who walk in to centres will be assessed by a clinician for treatment within the UTC which in some cases may result in being redirected to other services such as a pharmacy or GP practice. 

Pam Green, Chief Operating Officer for NEECCG, said: “We are delighted to fund the Wild Wellbeing project. One of our key priorities is to make sure that every child in north east Essex has the best start in life, and this project is a great opportunity to do that, especially with the increasing rate of mental health conditions in children. This is a wonderful way to involve all the family in helping to improve wellbeing.

“We are also proud of our partnership work with the Urgent Treatment Service Collaborative, bringing urgent care together to provide the right care for patients in the right place, at the right time.”