Shropshire’s NHS Walk-in Centre will open in its new home for the first time on Monday 15 December.
The centre, which allows people to see a GP or nurse without an appointment, will be opening its doors in newly refurbished accommodation at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
The Walk-in Centre will offer exactly the same services and it will be run by the same team – but it will be in a far more accessible destination, located alongside A&E in the county’s main hospital.
Dr Caron Morton, Accountable Officer for Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is a move that clinicians have been eagerly anticipating.
“It means we will have emergency and urgent care co-located on the same site. This is now regarded both nationally and internationally as the optimum approach for delivering the best treatment for patients. The fact we have been able to relocate the service in time to deal with the annual spike in demand caused by the onset of winter is a huge bonus.”
The Walk-in Centre has been highly regarded by patients since it opened in 2009, but often the location of the centre has been difficult for people to find. While it has always served everyone in the county, the vast majority of people who use the centre have lived in the immediate vicinity.
Dr Morton said: “All the evidence demonstrates that having an urgent care facility, such as the Walk-in Centre, co-located alongside A&E benefits patients and allows them to be seen by the most appropriate health professional the first time.
“The College of Emergency Medicine has called for primary care centres to be sited alongside emergency centres. This is intended to address "crowding theory" which demonstrates that overcrowded A&E departments mean poorer patient outcomes. There are additional advantages to teams of skilled staff working at co-located centres as they can learn from each other in a totally beneficial way.”
Dr Kevin Eardley, Care Group Medical Director for Unscheduled Care at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Enhancing walk-in services at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will mean that people who urgently need assessment with non-life threatening injuries or illnesses could be seen more quickly by GP walk-in service staff.
“Walk-in staff have particular skills that will support timely and effective management of those presenting with minor illnesses and injuries, providing existing A&E staff with more capacity to manage the most complex and severe illnesses and injuries.”
Dr Edwin Borman, Medical Director at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, added: “Many people who attend the Emergency Department could be cared for by a GP. Bringing together the walk-in centre and A&E department will offer a new ‘one-stop’ service for people with urgent injuries and illnesses.”
The Walk in Centre will be open from 8am-8pm every day.