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New emergency unit to open at Whittington

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 February 2011

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital

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A NEW fast-track ward for patients with minor injuries is opening at The Whittington Hospital.

The Urgent Care Centre will house GPs and nurses and will mainly treat cuts and bruises, simple fractures and other non-emergencies.

The unit is intended to ease the burden on Accident and Emergency at the Archway hospital, in Magdala Avenue, and allow patients with less serious complaints to be treated more quickly.

Dr Nathalie Richard, lead consultant for urgent care in The Whittington’s emergency department, said: “We welcome the development of the new service, which will enable us to direct patients towards the most appropriate service for them, improve their experience of the NHS and provide a high quality service. We will work closely and collaboratively with our GP and community health colleagues in this new urgent care service.”

Last year the hospital’s A&E department was facing closure, but after a massive grassroots campaign the plans were scrapped when the coalition Government came to power in May.

Shirley Franklin, chairwoman of the Defend The Whittington Hospital Coalition, said she does not think the Urgent Care Centre is a threat to the A&E department. She said: “As long as they cover the medical needs of the area that’s fine. I don’t think it means the A&E is going to go.

“The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley got the message loud and clear that we need our A&E. I am more worried about all the massive Government cuts that are taking place.”

The Urgent Care Centre will be at the core of a new integrated care organisation known as Whittington Health, and will also offer support to patients with long term conditions who need to see a doctor quickly.

Dr Jo Sauvage, a GP in Islington, said: “There is evidence to suggest that people often do not know how to access health care when they become ill and so choose the obvious choice, which is to attend the emergency department. They may have to wait to be seen, if their condition is not categorised as life-threatening, and their reason for attendance might not be best dealt with by the expertise of an emergency department.

“Through the opening of an Urgent Care Centre, GPs will now be more involved in helping patients with urgent problems.”

The department will be up and running on March 31 and will open daily from 8am to 10pm.

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