About us

Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care (SDUC) provides an integrated Urgent Care Centre, based at University Royal Stoke Hospital, and a GP OOH service for patients in North Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent.

If you think you need Urgent Care in the first instance call your GP. If your GP Practice is closed then call 111 and you will be directed to the most appropriate service for your need. In an emergency always call 999. If you've called 111 you will be assessed by a team of highly trained call advisors and clinicians. Depending on your condition you could be directed to an appointment at an Urgent Care Centre, receive a home visit from an Out of Hours GP or one of any number of other outcomes based on your telephone assessment.

As part of the integrated model of care we operate an Urgent Care Centre, we will also provide GP Out of Hours cover for the North Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent.

Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care Limited is a private limited company. Company registration number: 08801907.

SDUC is part of the Vocare group, which began in 1996 in the North East of England as a co-operative of local GPs providing healthcare to local people.

Vocare Mission Statement

Vision (the kind of world which we want to help co-create)

For this country to enjoy the provision of health and care services which are the best in the world, helping its population to experience:

  • Improved health outcomes
  • Increased life expectancy
  • Greater social inclusion
  • A better quality of life

Our Mission (our role in helping to achieve our vision)

To be the urgent healthcare provider and partner of choice for the NHS, with a range of services which will allow them to provide better clinically led, evidenced based, innovative and sustainable services for patients

Our People Values

  1. People Centred - our greatest investment and assets are the people who work for us. We will value and support them to deliver our services to the best of their ability
  2. Team Work - while we recognise the talents of individuals we understand that the best care is delivered when working as a team. We will be inclusive with staff at all levels and we will respect and support our internal and external colleagues with whom we collaborate
  3. Passion - we will approach everything we do with energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm
  4. Investment - we will invest in training and developing our people
  5. Leadership - we will challenge those who lead us to earn the respect of their teams by demonstrating integrity, vision, competence, openness and inspiration

Our Care Values

We believe that in delivering our care we need to:

  1. Be patient-centred - we will provide patients with care or treatment that is tailored to their needs and preferences
  2. Respect patients - we will treat all patients equally, fairly and with dignity and respect, and act in accordance with their wishes. We will support patients to remain independent within their communities
  3. Be safe - we will provide evidence-based care and treatment in a clean and safe environment. We will safeguard vulnerable patients under our care, and operate strong governance and assurance systems
  4. Have the right staff - we will safely recruit the right number of staff with the qualifications, competence, skills and experience to ensure high-quality care is provided
  5. Be responsive - we will investigate complaints and concerns thoroughly, and learn from them. We will obtain patient feedback and act on it. We will behave with candour and be transparent across all Vocare services

Our Organisation Values

  1. Solutions Focussed - as a leading provider of urgent care services our strength lies in the broad range of our offering for those who commission us. Wherever possible our starting point is to promote Vocare, our specialist expertise and the breadth of our capabilities
  2. Commercially Driven - only by generating recurring surpluses will we be able to continue to invest in delivering our mission. Accordingly, we must ensure that we are appropriately funded for the care we deliver
  3. Innovative - we have a strong record of innovation and will continue to be an innovator in the services we provide
  4. Partner of Choice - we endeavour to be a partner of choice for commissioners and other partners, wishing to complement their skill set. We will act with honesty and respect and be open minded with our partners. We will negotiate firmly but fairly

Andy Gregory
Managing Director
January 2018

Safeguarding Children Policy

SDUC acknowledges that anyone who comes into contact with children and young people has a duty to safeguard and promote their welfare and should know what to do if they have any concerns.

SDUC has a clear, concise and comprehensive Safeguarding Children Policy which has been approved by your local children's safeguarding leads. The underlying principle is to enable SDUC staff, following their statutory duty, to carry out their duty in relation to suspected child abuse or neglect and to acknowledge that the overriding principle behind this is that the child' s safety and welfare are paramount.

SDUC will protect children by following national child protection guidance within their own activities and in their dealings with other organisations, and has thus made arrangements to safeguard children under Section 11 Children Act 2004. SDUC has identified the Organisational Medical Director as the nominated safeguarding doctor.

The policy and procedure are underpinned by key pieces of legislation and statutory guidance and do not replace the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) guidance which should be consulted as a reference and advisory resource when appropriate. This information is available on clinical commissioning group and Local Authority websites.

SDUC will work with partner organisations to protect children and participate in reviews established in ‘Working together to safeguard children' (2013). SDUC will therefore co-operate in the management of the LSCB and will consequently share responsibility for the effective discharge of its functions.

SDUC has agreed systems, standards and protocols regarding sharing information regarding a child and their family to partner organisations with reference to ‘Statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children', by applying the guidance provided by HMG in ‘Information sharing, guidance for practitioners and managers' (2008), and in the publication ‘Further guidance on legal issues' (2008).

The Chief Executives of the commissioning groups have responsibility and overall accountability for ensuring that any contribution to the safeguarding and promoting of children's welfare is discharged effectively through health service providers.

SDUC will ensure that all staff fulfil their mandatory training requirements regarding safeguarding.


Dr Jim Heptinstall

Medical Director

January 2018

Organisational Privacy Statement


All patient records, including paper and computer-based records are confidential. They are protected by the Data Protection Act 1998 which lays down legal requirements for computer users such as Vocare. The Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on 1 March 2000. It sets out rules for processing personal information and applies to paper records as well as data held on computers.

The Data Protection Act states that those who record and process personal information must be open about how the information is used and must follow the eight principles of good information handling. These principles state that data must be:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary
  • Processed in line with your rights
  • Secure, and
  • Not transferred to countries without adequate protection.

By law, data controllers have to keep to these principles.

Sharing of information

We will pass on specific information only if there is a genuine clinical need for it. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
Sometimes the law requires us to pass on information e.g. to notify a birth or when we encounter infectious diseases that may endanger the safety of others. Data may be gathered for audit purposes and in development of medical care or other NHS services.
All our staff and other NHS members who access your data are legally bound to keep this confidential.
We are fully compliant with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

By law you have the right to request access to your health records reflecting your contact with Vocare.

Patient privacy during consultations

Vocare takes the privacy of patients very seriously and all consultations are carried out in a private room.


As an organisation Vocare acknowledges that we are always trying to develop the service and we therefore value your comments. From time-to-time Vocare will request information from users via anonymous surveys in order to develop the service by learning from our users' opinions. Participation in these surveys is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose this information.

Rights and responsibilities

We provide high quality health services designed around patient need.

You can help us by

  • Arriving promptly for your appointment;
  • Cancelling any appointment you do not need so that someone else can take your place;
  • Acting in a polite and non-abusive manner;

Zero tolerance

Vocare has a zero tolerance policy of violence including abusive language against its entire staff.

Equitable access statement

Vocare aims to offer patients timely and equitable access to its services, in line with the NHS Constitution 2013 to support the delivery of high quality, effective and efficient patient care and the achievement of the organisations core objectives and statutory obligations.

Vocare will offer patients timely, equitable and transparent access to our services.

  • Vocare will ensure that access to the services will be easy to navigate and understand.
  • Vocare will communicate effectively with patients, and if relevant, carers at all stages in a patient's pathway.
  • Vocare will accurately and contemporaneously record all patients' details on our electronic systems to support their management.
  • Vocare will ensure that all staff involved in the provision or administration of care are aware of their responsibilities and are appropriately trained.
  • Vocare will ensure that children and vulnerable adults including those with palliative and end of life care needs are not disadvantaged.
  • Vocare will ensure that all patients and staff are treated equitably irrespective of ability, race, language, religion, age, gender reassignment status, marital status, pregnancy or maternity status, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or geographic location.
  • Vocare will be cognisant of its wider social duty to promote equality through the services it provides and to pay particular attention to groups or sections of society where improvements in health and life expectancy are not keeping pace with the rest of the population.
  • The services provided by Vocare will provide high quality care that is safe, effective and focused on patient experience; in the people it employs, and in the support, education, training and development they receive; in the leadership and management of its organisations; and through its commitment to innovation and to the promotion, conduct and use of audits to improve the current and future health and care of the population. Respect, dignity, compassion and care should be at the core of how patients and staff are treated not only because that is the right thing to do but because patient safety, experience and outcomes are all improved when staff are valued, empowered and supported.
  • Vocare will promote the belief that the patient will be at the heart of everything it does. It will support individuals to promote and manage their own health. Vocare aims to reflect, and to be coordinated around and tailored to, the needs and preferences of patients, their families and their carers. Patients, with their families and carers, where appropriate, will be involved in and consulted on all decisions about their care and treatment. Vocare will actively encourage feedback from the public, patients and staff, from a variety of means and welcome it and use it to improve its services.
  • Vocare operates in partnership with other organisations in the interest of patients, local communities and the wider population.
  • Vocare is committed to providing the most effective, fair, accountable, transparent and sustainable use of finite resources.
  • Vocare services will be free of charge, except in limited circumstances sanctioned by Parliament.

Patient safety is our paramount priority and all staff are expected to make decisions in the best interests of patients based on their clinical judgment at the time.

Andy Gregory
Managing Director
January 2018

Health and Safety Policy Statement

The management of Vocare wishes to pursue a policy which promotes health, safety and welfare throughout the organisation by offering a proactive and committed approach to their responsibilities, and in doing so, ensuring a safe and health risk free place of work. We are committed to a culture conducive to maintaining high standards of health, safety and welfare management for our employees, associates and all other persons who may be affected by our undertaking. We will provide working conditions which comply with all relevant statutory requirements, and officially approved codes of practice.

Vocare is committed to:-

  • Providing and maintaining plant, equipment and systems of work that are safe and without risk to health.
  • Offering arrangements for ensuring the safe use, handling, storage and transporting of articles and substances.
  • Providing comprehensive information, instruction, training and supervision, with the objective of ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of every employee.
  • Maintaining the workplace in a safe and risk free condition, and providing safe means of access to and egress from the workplace.
  • Providing and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment with adequate welfare facilities and equipment.
  • Compliance with all present and future health and safety legislative and regulatory requirements.

Vocare recognises, without detraction from its responsibilities as an employer that Vocare executive management have a duty within their areas of responsibility to take all necessary steps to implement the Vocare Health and Safety Policy, and any supplementary Health and Safety arrangements or procedures provided for the safe operation of their undertaking and will provide competent technical advice on health and safety matters to assist in complying with the requirements of all Health and Safety legislation which is relevant to the Vocare undertaking.

It is Vocare policy that all levels of management and staff will offer full support to achieving the organisations goal of a safe and risk free environment, and be active in maintaining the culture and attitude which enhances the promotion of health and safety activities.

Employees are reminded of their general duty under section 7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to take reasonable care of the health and safety at work of themselves and others who may be affected by their acts or omissions and are expected to cooperate with any person discharging a duty relating to health and safety matters or function. Failure by individuals to comply with the requirements of this policy, or interfere with arrangements or safeguards introduced for their health, safety or welfare, may lead to disciplinary action.

No Health and Safety Policy can be successful unless it actively involves employees. Vocare will seek support from employees by the appointment of Safety Representatives, which include sufficient facilities to carry out this function and will offer conformity to related Safety Representative legislative requirements.

This policy and its arrangements demonstrate the organisations commitment to providing a safe environment which is without risk to health and offering good standards of welfare facilities. The executive management will endeavour to ensure a fully committed approach to complying with the statements made in this document and will review its effectiveness whenever necessary or appropriate.

A copy of this general statement will be issued to all employees, associates and contractors undertaking work on behalf of Vocare. This document will be reviewed periodically for legislative conformity and, where necessary, modified in relation to such changes.

Policy approved by: Andy Gregory, Managing Director
January 2018

Fair Processing Notice for patients: data protection and confidentiality

Your information - how we use it

Why we collect information about you

Vocare keeps records about the healthcare and treatment patients receive. This helps to ensure that patients receive the best possible care from us.

How we keep your records confidential

Everyone working for the NHS and bodies associated with this such as Vocare must comply with the Common Law Duty of Confidence. Information you provide to the organisation in confidence will only be used for the purposes explained to you and to which you consented, unless there are other circumstances covered by the law. Vocare complies with the NHS Confidentiality Code of Conduct. All our staff are required to protect your information, inform you of how your information will be used, and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared. All our staff are trained in information governance.

The organisation holds information about you in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

How your personal information is used to improve the service that Vocare delivers

Your information will be used to

  • review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard and quality, through audit or service improvement
  • ensure our services can meet patient needs in the future
  • investigate patient queries, complaints and comments

Sharing information with other NHS organisations

With your consent we will share your personal information with other organisations for healthcare purposes only. This may be with your general practitioner, district nursing, health visitors and school nurses and other relevant primary care agencies as well as with local hospitals and local ambulance services.

Information sharing with non-NHS organisations

We may need to share information from your health records with other non-NHS organisations from which you are also receiving care, such as Social Services. However, we will not disclose any health information to third parties without your explicit consent unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the health or safety of others is at risk or where the law requires it.

We may also be asked by other statutory bodies to share basic information about you, such as your name and address, but not sensitive information from your health records. This would normally be to assist them to carry out their statutory duties. In these circumstances, where it is not practical to obtain your explicit consent, we are informing you through this notice, which is referred to as a Fair Processing Notice, under the Data Protection Act.

These non-NHS organisations may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Social Services
  • education services
  • local authorities
  • the police
  • voluntary sector providers
  • private sector providers

Patient satisfaction

We may use your details to contact you with regards to our anonymous patient satisfaction surveys relating to services you have used provided by Vocare. This is to improve the way we deliver healthcare to you and to other patients.

Your right to withdraw consent for us to share your personal information

At any time you have the right to refuse/withdraw consent to information sharing. The possible consequences will be fully explained to you and could include delays in receiving care.

Subject access requests

Patients may request sight of their own records by contacting the Vocare Assurance Department assurance@nduc.nhs.uk

Further information

To learn more about how we use your information, please speak to the health professionals concerned with your care. Further information may be provided by the Vocare Assurance Department. assurance@nduc.nhs.uk

Information Commissioners Office registration details

Registration Number: ZA164302
Registration Expires: 31st March 2019
Data Controller: Vocare
Vocare house
Balliol Business Park
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Tyne & Wear
NE12 8EW

Chaperone notice

Do you require someone to accompany you when you see the doctor?

Do you require someone to accompany you? This person will act as a guide or companion whose purpose is to ensure that the examination is carried out in an appropriate way.

Vocare is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of the highest importance.

All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure if you would like one.

Wherever possible we would ask you to make this request when you book your appointment so that arrangements can be made and your appointment is not delayed in any way. Where this is not possible we will try to provide a formal chaperone at the time of request.

Your healthcare professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations in accordance with our chaperone policy.

If you would like to see a copy of our chaperone policy or have any questions or comments regarding this please contact the receptionist.

Thank you.

Dr Jim Heptinstall
Organisational Medical Director
January 2018

Vocare Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Totally plc Modern Slavery Statement 2019

Gender Pay Gap Report as at 31st March 2017

Staffordshire Doctors Urgent Care Gender Pay Gap Report

Vocare General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance Statement

Information Security and Data Protection are pivotal to Vocare’s business in delivering innovative, high quality healthcare services to our patients, and as such the Introduction of GDPR, which comes into force on May 25th 2018, is a welcome opportunity to review and refresh such activity within our organisation.

Vocare is committed to the highest standards of data protection and information security, and we operate an Information Security Management System (ISMS) which adheres to the highest recognised standards, including ISO27001.

Our GDPR preparation has included a comprehensive review of all internal processes, procedures and associated documentation to ensure full readiness.

Vocare will be compliant with all applicable GDPR regulations, and will work closely and collaboratively with all customers, partners and peers to facilitate compliance with these requirements as widely as possible.

We are also committed to ongoing review and careful observation on all matters within the scope of GDPR, so that a process of continual re-examination, training, risk management and improvement is embedded both within our organisation and employee culture.

Any questions relating to GDPR and Vocare can be referred in the first instance to

Patient Feedback

We are constantly striving to improve our service so your feedback is welcome.

Click here to take our patient survey or send us any comments, complaints or suggestions you may have.

© Vocare 2022