Urgent care for minor injuries and illnesses will be delivered differently in north east Essex from tomorrow, October 1.
People will be able to access care at Colchester through a dedicated area based at the hospital, as well as Clacton and Harwich. It means the walk-in centre, based in the Primary Care Centre building in Turner Road will no longer operate.
These will be called Urgent Treatment Centres, and will be equipped to assess and treat many of the common aliments people already attend Colchester Hospital’s Emergency Department (A&E) for at the moment. This will mean emergency teams can concentrate on treating those patients who are most in need. It answers calls from the public to simplify the services in Colchester and deliver from one place, as much as possible.
A group of local people have been selected to appear in a promotional campaign to highlight the changes, as well as the injuries and illnesses typically treated at an Urgent Treatment Centre.
They include nine-year-old schoolboy Thomas Hillier from Clacton, mum-of-one Kelly Cheong from Colchester, Mark Booker from Colchester-based Rose Builders, Colchester and East Essex Cricket Club wicket keeper Jenny Grinter from Earls Colne and former nurse and care home owner Marjorie Appleyard, who is a member of the North East Essex Health Forum.
The urgent treatment centre at Colchester Hospital will be open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Clacton’s urgent treatment centre will be open 8am-8pm and the urgent treatment service at Fryatt Hospital in Harwich will be available 9am-5pm.
For more information, visit https://www.neessexccg.nhs.uk/uts.
Urgent treatment centres – what are they and how will they work?
Urgent treatments centres are for urgent help, not emergencies. If you are seriously ill or in need of emergency care, you will still be treated at Colchester Hospital’s Emergency Department (A&E).
Specialist staff at urgent treatment centres will able to treat minor injuries, including broken limbs, strains and sprains, cuts and grazes, bites and stings, scalds and burns and minor head injuries. Minor urgent illnesses include ear, throat or skin infections, or the exacerbation of long-term health problems.
When the new urgent treatment centres are open, patients with minor illnesses and injuries will be urged to contact NHS 111 to get help online or over the phone in the first instance. This will allow them to be assessed over the phone and given advice about where they need to go for treatment.
This could be at an urgent treatment centre/service at their local hospital or Emergency Department (A&E), a pharmacy or local GP practice. Many GP surgeries will be extending their opening hours during evenings and weekends when the urgent treatment centres are up and running.
This triage system will be in place if you arrive in person at an urgent treatment centre too. Staff will work alongside other services to signpost people to the right place as quickly and safely as possible.
A note about walk-in blood tests
The Urgent Treatment Centre at Colchester Hospital will not provide walk-in blood test (phlebotomy) services.
From 1 October, you will continue to be able to access blood test services from your GP practice.
Please contact your GP practice for a blood test appointment.
They may signpost you to the walk-in blood test (phlebotomy) service at the Primary Care Centre in Turner Road and give you a form to take with you. The service is available:
Monday to Wednesday: 7am-2pm
Thursday to Friday: 8am-10.45am