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Newark: Urgent Treatment Centre opening hours decided

NHS leaders have made a decision on the future opening hours at Newark Hospital’s urgent treatment centre following feedback from residents, stakeholders and clinical input from healthcare experts.

In a bid to provide sustainable, high-quality urgent care in Newark, NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) has approved permanent opening hours at Newark Hospital’s urgent treatment centre (UTC). 

The UTC will open between 8am – 10.30pm (last patient admitted at 9.30pm) seven days a week, offering an extended window for patients to access essential healthcare services. It is anticipated that the new hours will be mobilised from Summer 2024.

The service will be open for 14.5 hours per day, which not only exceeds the 12-hour minimum national standard for UTCs set by NHS England, but also the current temporary operating hours. 

The UTC, run by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, provides urgent care and non-life-threatening treatment for injuries or conditions, such as cuts, simple broken bones, wounds, minor burns and minor head, eye and back injuries.

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Currently, the urgent treatment centre operates between 9am – 10pm (last patient admitted at 9.30pm), as a temporary measure. Going forward, the UTC will open earlier and longer to support people who need to access the service around working patterns and school times and provide more time for staff to finish caring for patients at the end of the day.

As part of the decision-making process, the ICB engaged with residents and stakeholders to ensure that the preferred option for the UTC opening hours aligned with the community’s needs. The feedback from residents of Newark clearly indicated the high value they place on the service received at the UTC and whilst there was clearly a strong preference for a return to 24-hours opening, this was balanced against other factors within a rounded evidence-based decision.  

The evidence-based decision follows a review by the East Midlands Clinical Senate and their subsequent recommendation to make permanent the overnight closure of the Urgent Treatment Centre.

Speaking on the extended UTC opening hours, Victoria McGregor-Riley, Commissioning Delivery Director of NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, said:

“Today’s announcement marks a positive and sustainable way forward for Newark Hospital and the people it serves.

“The decision to extend the opening hours at the urgent treatment centre strikes a balance between flexibility for the local population, current service usage, and operational and staffing levels.

“We’re confident that a 14.5-hour service will better serve the community, providing sustainable, high-quality healthcare in and around Newark.”

Cllr. Debbie Darby, an Independent Collingham County Councillor said,

“I am pleased that NHS bosses have listened to the collective voice of Newark residents.  This extension to opening hours shouldn’t be a cause for celebration.

“It represents a slight improvement in opening hours but is still not good enough.

“This will give encouragement however to those, like me fighting for a full-time A&E at our hospital.

“This campaign will not stop until the residents of Newark and its towns and villages get the health service they need and deserve.  Why should we tolerate a poorer health service than other parts of Nottinghamshire?”

Working in partnership with Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the ICB will continue to assess the impact of the extended operating hours, monitoring usage and reviewing patient feedback to ensure we continue to provide a responsive service to local people.

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