Newcastle’s walk-in centres are changing to urgent treatment centres

THREE walk-in centres across Newcastle are changing to urgent treatment centres (UTCs), making it easier and more convenient for patients to access services seven days a week.

From Monday 2 December, the centres in Molineux Street, Ponteland Road and Westgate Road will be open longer – from 8am until 10pm – and see people of all ages with minor injuries and illnesses.

The urgent treatment centres will be staffed by GPs and Nurses and will continue to see and treat patients, of any age, on a walk in basis without an appointment.

The urgent treatment centres will also offer additional appointments with GPs, including at evenings and weekends.

Appointments can be booked through your GP practice and may also be offered via NHS 111 if assessment of your symptoms suggests this is the best option for you.

The changes are part of a national drive to introduce UTCs across the country by December 2019, ensuring patients have the same experience of urgent services regardless of where they are in the country.

At the moment, the NHS offers a mix of walk-in centres, urgent care centres, minor injury units and urgent treatment centres, all with different levels of service.

Team lead Debbie Wilson said: “We know that patients generally understand when something is serious enough to go to the emergency department or call 999, however when they have a less serious condition they are not aware of where they can access the care they need closer to home.

“Urgent treatment centres are a facility you can go to if you need urgent medical attention, but it's not a life-threatening situation. These changes will ensure urgent services are standardised making it much clearer for patients where to access our help.”

It is hoped this new standard will reduce any confusion around which part of the NHS offers which service, in turn reducing the number of people who attend emergency departments when they could be treated more appropriately – and faster – elsewhere.

The three urgent treatment centres will be open 14 hours a day every day of the week (including bank holidays). Patients may be referred to an urgent treatment centre by NHS 111 or by a GP or people can just turn up and walk in.

Conditions that can be treated at an urgent treatment centre include:

·         sprains and strains

·         suspected broken limbs

·         minor head injuries

·         cuts and grazes

·         bites and stings

·         minor scalds and burns

·         ear and throat infections

·         skin infections and rashes

·         eye problems

·         coughs and colds

·         feverish illness in adults

·         feverish illness in children

·         abdominal pain

·         vomiting and diarrhoea

·         emergency contraception

New signage will be installed at the site to demonstrate that the service has changed in line with national UTC standards.

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