Urgent treatment centres provide ideal alternative to A&E

Urgent care services across the Fylde Coast have been renamed in an effort to make things simpler for people living in the area.

The walk-in centre in Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, and same day centre in Fleetwood, Dock Street, are now both called ‘urgent treatment centres’.

The move is part of a national drive to standardise all urgent care services across the UK by December 2019 and make it easier for patients to understand the service offer. Urgent treatment centres will all offer the same level of service, no matter where they are in the country.

Last year, the Blackpool and Fleetwood services were improved to offer both walk-in and pre-booked appointments in order to meet the new urgent treatment centre standard. Pre-booked appointments are available by calling NHS111 between 8am and 8pm seven days a week. Previously the same day centre was only available for appointments booked in advance while the walk-in centre did not offer pre-booked appointments. 

Speaking on behalf of the Fylde Coast NHS, David Bonson, chief operating officer at NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Many patients are understandably confused about which part of the NHS offers which service, and by then relying on A&E they are being treated in wrong setting. This is bad for the local NHS because it puts unnecessary pressure on A&E and other parts of the urgent and emergency care system.

“The new standard brings in a clear and comprehensive offer to patients. Urgent treatment centres are usually a GP led service, open for at least 12 hours a day, every day of the week, every week of the year – including bank holidays – and offering pre-bookable appointments.

“They have access to simple diagnostics such as swabs and pregnancy tests and have access to x-ray facilities, as well as a range of other services. They can also issue prescriptions and e-prescriptions.”

Apart from the name changes, there are no further changes planned to the services on offer at the urgent treatment centres or the way they are delivered.