The GP-led urgent treatment centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will move to Whitegate Health Centre as the Fylde Coast NHS responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The move will allow for the expansion of clinical services at the hospital A&E department and for additional urgent care services to be available at Whitegate Drive.

 Health bosses in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have made the move in anticipation of increased A&E demand as the COVID-19 pandemic develops.

 Dr Ben Butler-Reid, a Blackpool GP and clinical director for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “We need to make sure services across the Fylde Coast are equipped to deal with a possible influx of COVID-19 patients while maintaining services for those needing healthcare but not infected by the virus.

 “We are taking steps to prevent people with symptoms of COVID-19 from going into their GP practice or the urgent treatment centres in Fleetwood and at Whitegate Drive. We need to keep these services free for people who need to use them.”

 Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, NHS leaders across the Fylde Coast have worked together as a team to ensure a consistent and appropriate response to the situation.

 This has included daily teleconferences between managers and all GP practices to identify issues and twice-weekly system-wide calls including CCG, hospital, public health, local authority and other partners.

 Dr Butler-Reid said: “The situation we are currently facing is completely unprecedented but it has in some ways brought us all much closer together as we respond to the pandemic.

 “I am extremely proud to be a part of the Fylde Coast health economy at this time. We have been way ahead of the curve throughout the pandemic and this has seen services that are far more coordinated and consistent for our patients.”