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Opening hours at hospital's revamped urgent care centre extended
CHANGES to out-of-hours urgent care services in Darlington will take effect on Monday, December 9.
At the moment, anyone needing urgent care in the Darlington area between 8am and 11pm has the option of going to the Urgent Care Centre at Dr Piper House in King Street, Darlington.
But from Monday, December 9, Dr Piper House will close at the earlier time of 6pm each day.
After that time anyone needing urgent care who is unable to visit a pharmacist or see an out-of-hours GP can go to the accident and emergency department at Darlington Memorial Hospital where they will be seen by dedicated urgent care staff.
This follows the conversion of office space into an urgent care treatment area within the A&E department.
If the new urgent care centre at Darlington Memorial is a success - and eases pressure on the hospitals busy A&E department proper - health chiefs plan to close the walk-in centre at Dr Piper House and provide all urgent care from the towns hospital.
A spokesman for the GP-led Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group stressed that the Memorial Hospitals urgent care centre is less than a mile away from Dr Piper House and, in addition, "people will continue to have access to their GP and the GP out-of-hours service, pharmacies and the NHS 111 telephone number, so there is no reason for individuals to go untreated."
The spokesman said the move to locate urgent care services alongside the Emergency Department at the Memorial Hospital "will mean that people will be directed to the most appropriate service for their needs. This should lead to fewer people using the Emergency Department inappropriately and more people being treated quickly by the urgent care service."
The CCG stressed that the changes were being made to ensure that patients receive "the right care in the right place" and was not about saving money.
People using the urgent care centre at the Memorial Hospital will have access to a wider range of health services under one roof, including diagnostic services.
"This should lead to fewer people being referred to another location for treatment," the spokesman added.
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