Penrith Urgent Treatment centre walk in hours to change

The hours of the walk in service at Penrith UTC will change from 1 November so that staff are able to provide more services at the unit during the day.

An engagement process was carried out during the summer and more than 600 people, including Foundation Trust members, gave their views on the proposals.

Findings of the survey have been reflected in the business plan which has now been approved. Dr Craig Melrose, clinical director, said: “We were extremely pleased with the response to the survey with 618 people providing feedback either online or in writing.

“From the survey we saw some clear themes emerge. These were discussed and agreed with partners from the Penrith Hospital League of Friends and Trust governors. We have ensured that each has been addressed and where possible reflected in the business case.

“Specifically we have listened to what people said about the opening hours. Initially we suggested 8am to 8pm for the walk in service and the public said they felt a 10pm closure would be better. Therefore the walk in service will remain available from 8am to 10pm every day.

“We will be increasing the range of service being delivered in Penrith straight away. The staff at Penrith minor injuries unit will now be able to support patients who need transfusions, infusions and catheter care. We are working with staff to provide more training so they can increase their skills and deliver even more services in the future.”

Barbara Fleary, service manager for emergency care said: “The changes mean that after 10pm people should check 111 online to see which service is best for them, they can even get an appointment at the unit if that is best. We had some concerns raised about using 111 and these were discussed with the North West Ambulance Service who run the service. As a result we are working together to make sure that the information they have about our range of services is as clear and robust as possible. We are also keen to help the public understand the 111 process and will be sharing more information about how it works.”

The walk in service for the Urgent Treatment Centre is now 8am to 10pm. Out of hours people are advised to check to understand the best service for their needs. These changes to access means the Trust is able to:

  • Redeploy staff to expand services available during the day, when demand outstrips capacity for intravenous antibiotics for example.
  • Look at ways to increase of x-ray services to reduce the need to transfer patients to the Cumberland Infirmary or West Cumberland Hospital.
  • Increase the opportunities to divert patients to Penrith UTC as an alternative to Accident and Emergency in Carlisle or Whitehaven.
  • Ensure that clinical decision makers are available in the unit at all times which will minimise waiting times and maximise safety.

Dr Melrose added: “Overall the Trust hopes that the UTC will become a hub of activity through the day offering services that we were not able to before. We hope that this will help deliver more patient services closer to home and reduce the need for the local people to travel to the main acute sites of CIC or WCH for some treatments.”

Kathryn Orme, Team Lead at the urgent care centre said, “We are looking forward to the changes which will allow us the opportunity to improve the services available to the local community. We plan for the new scheduled care to allow appointments for services like PICC line care to be booked so local people can receive their care here in Penrith, rather than having to travel.”

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