Update on Unity Health

Mia (Community and Wellbeing Officer)

This afternoon as part of the Liberation and Welfare Group meeting, Dr Kevin Smith, Executive Director of Primary Care and Population Health from the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group came to speak to students about the ongoing issues with Unity Health's poor service. This is following my having requested a meeting in order that  service commissioners could hear directly from students about some of the significant difficulties we have continued to face with Unity Health.  Many of these problems relate to communication with the surgery on campus but they are not restricted to this.  The meeting gave students an opportunity to share their experiences first hand with Dr Smith.    

Dr Smith has confirmed that a robust action plan of steps are being taken to work with Unity to address these problems. Communication has been made already about the e-consult triage system ceasing on 15 June in order to review how this can be made better for patients.  The surgery has now returned to a simple phone call appointment booking system to alleviate pressure and ensure that patient can be provided with timely appointments.   

Going forward, as part of measures being taken to urgently tackle the concerns and pressure Unity is facing - the surgery will not be registering new patients to the practice until further notice.  I have been assured that plans are being put in place immediately for an alternative practice in which new students can register.  For current patients, access to Unity remains unchanged.

Over the summer period the practice will be working to address many of these issues with the CCG and local Healthwatch team. We've been robustly assured that the CCG is giving the highest priority to addressing these issues ahead of the start of the next academic year, with the intention to re-open patient registration for Unity as soon as possible.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and put pressure on all parties to address the problems and ensure students have access to a reliable and responsive health service. This evolving situation is my number one priority at this point.  I will release a further update in the coming days and will continue to proactively do everything I can to make sure that risks are minimized for students and to be confident in the measures being taken to address the situation.

We know that involved staff are working extremely hard to address these urgent and significant problems and we welcome the surgery's acknowledgement of these issues.  It's important to recognize that alongside the challenges, recent months have seen some positive developments including the introduction of a link practitioner who works between Open Door and Unity Health. The reassurances I have received from the CCG regarding the resources, expertise and plan they have put in place to assist Unity going forward have given me enough confidence to say that the student voice is finally being heard by Unity.

Further information

New patient registrations 

During the summer period Jorvik Gillygate Practice has agreed to take new University of York student registrations.  

Unity Health has issued the following advice to help patients get in touch

  1. Ring after tea plea
    • Our surgeries are open until 8pm Mon to Thurs and 6pm on Fridays, as well as Saturday mornings, so you can contact us after tea
    • We get more than 90 calls an hour each morning but hardly any after 6pm, so that’s a good time to call us if you can
  2. Busy bees
    • If the phone is engaged, this means all our receptionists are speaking on all our phone lines. You will have to try us when the lines are quieter or contact us online. We don’t have a telephone queue system in place currently.
  3. E mail us
    • For non urgent messages, you can e mail us on admin.unityhealth@nhs.net
    • This is a good way of letting us know you don’t need your appointment any more
    • It’s also a good way of asking for forms and information
  4. Check out our website
    • If you’re not sure about something, have a look on our website for more information www.unityhealth.info