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3 October 2018, 14:09 | Updated: 3 October 2018, 14:21
Bedford Hospital say their A&E is currently at levels described as very busy.
Medics there are asking anyone thinking of going, to ONLY attend if it is a genuine emergency.
This week also saw the opening of the Urgent Treatment Centre at the hospital site.
The UTC offers patients access to same day GP and Nurse appointments from 11am until 11pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Appointments can be booked by calling NHS 111.
The UTC provides convenient, timed appointments to urgent primary care without the need to sit and wait to be seen and will treat all ages, including babies and children with:
• Minor eye injuries
• Minor illness
• Urine infections
• Abdominal pain / back pain
• Minor cuts and grazes, scalds and burns
The GP led service is provided by Bedford Hospital and is located next to Accident & Emergency on the Hospital site.
The additional appointments provide access to healthcare that is convenient to patients and enables Emergency teams to focus on the most critically ill patients.
An appointment is not essential, however those attending without a booked appointment will have to wait to be seen.
Dr Jonathan Kirkham, Urgent Treatment Centre, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, GP Clinical Lead said:
“The Urgent Treatment Centre is a new convenient service providing enhanced access to urgent GP/Nurse appointments for all patients across Bedfordshire when these are not available at their own practices or if required out of hours.
There will be extra capacity and resilience going into winter when traditionally there are pressures on all healthcare services.
The Urgent Treatment Centre will complement other enhanced GP services already provided across Bedfordshire such as Out of Hours, the Putnoe Walk-In Centre and Extended Access.
It also represents an opportunity for Accident & Emergency allowing their clinicians to deal with acute medical emergencies more quickly resulting in less waiting and better patient outcomes.”