TWO new Urgent Care Centres are to open in Halton.

It means that many patients will be able to receive treatment nearer to their homes, reducing pressure on busy accident and emergency units at Warrington and Whiston Hospitals.

Widnes Walk-in Centre in Caldwell Road is to be extended and a new Community Decision Unit is being launched at Halton Hospital in Runcorn.

The project is expected to be completed in September, 2014.

Emergency care will also be provided for children and young people as specialist paediatric nurses and GPs will be recruited.

The idea has been developed by local doctors at NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services for 126,000 Halton patients.

Simon Banks, chief officer of NHS Halton CCG, said: “We are bringing medical care closer to home for local people, bringing quality services that Halton residents can access immediately when they need it, and take away the worry and stress of travelling to Warrington or Whiston A&E departments.”

Many elderly patients who suffer from complex problems, such as heart and respiratory conditions, make frequent 999 visits to A&E units after collapsing or becoming unwell. They are often admitted for tests after lengthy stays in casualty.

Mr Banks believes that by providing urgent care in a ‘one stop shop’ nearer to their homes, their healthcare can be managed much more efficiently.

Local NHS professionals and healthcare practitioners are working together to finalise exactly what additional facilities will be needed.

X-ray and ultrasound, which is a painless test that uses sound waves to create pictures of organs and structures within the body, are two of the proposed services.

A recent survey of 350 Halton residents gave 94 per cent support to the plans.