The St Helens Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) which is run by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is the new name for the walk-in centre based at the Millennium Centre on Hall Street providing GP-led urgent, non-emergency care and treatment, reducing the need for people to visit A&E.
The move is part of a national drive to standardise all urgent care services across England by December 2019 and make it easier for patients to understand what service is on offer. UTCs will all offer the same level of service, no matter where they are in the country.
The St Helens UTC is open 15 hours a day (13 hours on Sundays) 365 days a year, and as well as highly specialised nurses, there is now a GP on site between 11am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. Walk in patients will be seen by a triage nurse on arrival and there are a limited number of same day appointments available via NHS 111.
Staff at the UTC can treat:
Minor cuts and wounds
Minor burns or scalds
Eye injuries and infections
Suspected simple fractures
Minor head injuries
Rashes and allergic reactions
Muscle or joint injuries (sprains and strains)
Childhood illnesses (croup, bronchiolitis)
They can also provide:
Check after a road traffic collision
On-site tests (x-ray, ECG, bloods).
Dr Mike Ejuoneatse, local GP and Governing Body Lead at St Helens CCG, said: “Many patients are understandably confused about what part of the NHS offers which service, meaning they often default to A&E where they are treated in the wrong setting. This is bad for the local NHS as it puts unnecessary pressure on the urgent and emergency care system.
“This new standard gives a clear and comprehensive offer to patients. Urgent treatment centres are a GP-led service, open for at least 12 hours a day, 365 days a year until 10pm – including bank holidays and offering walk in and available appointments bookable through NHS 111.“Staff can carry out simple diagnostic tests such as swabs and have access to x-ray facilities and ECGs and can also issue prescriptions”
Lynn Swift, Nurse Clinician and Clinical Services Manager at St Helens UTC, added: “After months of hard work, we are pleased that we are providing the first stand-alone urgent treatment centre in the Cheshire and Merseyside area. Having a GP as part of our highly skilled nursing team gives us additional capacity to see and treat a wide range of minor injuries and illnesses and provides further reassurance to patients.”