A NEW urgent care centre has opened at Halton Hospital as part of a £6 million investment which will see another one soon in Widnes.

It means that many patients now no longer need to travel to accident and emergency units.

Staff can treat any illness or injury that needs urgent attention from 7am to 10pm every day.

Doctors and highly trained nurses are available to diagnose conditions with improved ultrasound and x-ray facilities.

For the first time, paediatric nurses have been recruited to care for children in a specialist suite, decorated with colourful cartoon characters.

The former minor injury unit has been completely refurbished and is bright, welcoming and spacious.

Nurse manager Carol McNally, who lives in Widnes, said: “It is exciting.

“This is what the public has been asking for, to be treated here instead of having to go outside the borough.

“Most of the people who work here live in Halton so we are delighted that this service will save people having to travel for treatment.”

A second urgent care centre is set to open at Widnes Healthcare Resource Centre in Caldwell Road in September.

A spokesman for NHS Halton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We hope that this investment of almost £6m will help patients receive the right care, closer to home, whilst also helping to ease pressure on accident and emergency departments. 

“The completion of the project to deliver the urgent care centres could not have been achieved without the integrated and joined up working of NHS Halton CCG and Halton Council. 

“This partnership will continue to develop, with the people of Halton at the heart of everything we do.”

The Runcorn urgent care centre has already doubled its daily patients from 40 to 80 during the past few months as it prepared to open.

It expects to treat 120-140 a day and has created new jobs.

Nurses have more than doubled to 21 and there is the full time equivalent of 3.5 health care assistants, 3.5 paediatric nurses plus additional doctors and extra admin support.

Mrs McNally said: “A lot of investment has been made to make this work.

“It is for anyone who has a condition that needs urgent treatment but is not life threatening.

“For example, ear aches, nose bleeds, cuts, broken bones, exacerbated asthma, infections.

“We are not here to replace your GP but if something suddenly comes on and you can’t wait to see a doctor, we are here to help you.

“We will continue to treat minor injuries and illnesses.”

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