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16 January 2015, 07:25 | Updated: 16 January 2015, 07:27
Opening hours have been further extended at the St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre in Portsmouth, to help ease pressure on A&E.
The local NHS hopes the move will help the Emergency Department at Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) as high numbers of patients continue to report there, including many who may be seen faster and just as appropriately at other NHS settings.
The St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre will open from 7.30am to 11pm now until Tuesday 20 January. It normally closes at 10pm.
Before Christmas, its opening hours were temporarily extended but the NHS has decided to continue the move. The centre is run by Care UK and caters for minor injuries and minor illnesses.
Nurses from Care UK have also worked in the Emergency Department to increase the number of staff available to speed up the flow of patients.
Two nurses from the company have already worked six-hour shifts for three days this year, and are due to return to QA from 8pm to 2am tonight (Friday).
Richard Samuel, speaking on behalf of the GP-led three clinical commissioning groups in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire, said:
“We would yet again remind people that the Emergency Department is just that – for emergency cases only.
“It is not for patients with minor illnesses or injuries who could be seen very appropriately elsewhere, such as the St Mary’s Treatment Centre or the Minor Injuries Units in Gosport or Petersfield.
“We are very grateful for the support that Care UK is giving us both in terms of its extended opening hours and the extra staffing. The treatment centre is an excellent facility with extra capacity to take more patients. Patients whose conditions are not serious are far more likely to be seen faster than they would at QA, where priority has to be given to the more serious cases.”
Patients arriving at ED will be seen by medical staff in the usual way, assessed, and the less serious cases will be asked if they would consider going to the treatment centre instead. But they can remain at QA if they prefer.
Anyone seeking advice for an injury or illness, or who is unsure about the best place for them to get help or advice, can call the NHS 111 service. Community pharmacies are also a great resource for advice and information.
St Mary’s can deal with all minor injuries and illnesses, including cuts, bumps and grazes, burns, strains, sprains, bites, ear, throat and minor skin infections, eye conditions, stomach pains and suspected fractures.