A new Urgent Treatment Centre is up and running at the Countess of Chester Hospital to take the pressure off the busy A&E department this winter.
The aim is to make sure patients are seen in the ‘right place by the right person’ and help ease the workload for the emergency unit.
Located to the right of the main entrance, it is a partnership between the Countess and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who manage the GP Out of Hours and Urgent Care Team.
The advantage of the new centre is that it brings medical colleagues together under one roof.
And the UTC houses a number of clinical rooms including a designated triage area following a refurbishment of a previously non-clinical area funded by NHS England,
Jean Pace, CWP clinical services manager, said: “When people attend A&E they are now assessed by a senior nurse who will take a brief history and make a decision as to the most appropriate place for them to be seen.
"The new approach offers alternatives to A&E but still provides people with the reassurance and care most suited to their needs. We know this way of working has made a difference in other parts of the country and we are confident it can make a positive impact here in Cheshire.”
Hospital chief executive Tony Chambers said in his latest blog: “Given time these innovations will relieve some of the pressure, but there are bound to be issues and we’ll need to work together to get through them.”
Karen Townsend, divisional director for Urgent Care, said: “Following its opening in early October, 731 patients have been seen in the UTC while 123 were sent home with no treatment needed. These patients would previously have joined others waiting to be seen in our extremely busy A&E department.
“The UTC is not a walk-in centre and patients cannot turn up without first being referred either by phoning 111 or being directed from A&E, however it is helping to ease the pressure on our A&E team as we head into the winter period.”