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Overnight urgent care centre usage to be monitored

Proposed closure on hold until more data is gathered


The entrance to the Urgent Care Centre at the QEII in Welwyn Garden City Photograph by North Mymms News released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
The entrance to the Urgent Care Centre at the QEII in Welwyn Garden City
Photograph by North Mymms News released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

A recent questionnaire about the proposed closure of overnight services at the QEII Urgent Care Centre (UCC) in Welwyn Garden City drew more than 900 responses, according to local health officials.

Of those who filled in the survey, 58% disagreed with a proposal to close the centre between 10pm and 8am.

Information board inside the Urgent Care Centre at the QEII in Welwyn Garden City Photograph by North Mymms News released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0
Information board inside the Urgent Care Centre at the QEII in Welwyn Garden City
Photograph by North Mymms News released via Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0

The public engagement period, which took place between June and September 2019, included drop-in sessions and public meetings across Hertfordshire where people could ask questions and find out more about the proposal.

As a result, the Governing Body of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided to keep the UCC open overnight until the end of March 2020 to see if more patients begin to use the service.

The CCG has now launched a public campaign to “ensure that local people know about the health services available”.

Early next year the group will “review the usage data to see whether enough patients are using the UCC to justify it remaining open during the night”.

The unit, which treats minor injuries and minor illness, opened at the New QEII Hospital in 2015.  According to the CCG, it is well used overall, with an average of 118 people attending the centre every 24 hours.

However, data collected locally and verified by the national body, NHS England, shows that the service is not well used overnight.  Between 10pm and 8am, an average of less than one person per hour uses the UCC.

The CCG had proposed closing the UCC overnight to enable the nurses who work there from 10pm to 8am to be reallocated to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage to work in the main emergency department.

The proposal would not affect the availability of GP services out of hours, which are available through the free NHS 111 telephone or online advice service (111.nhs.uk), if a patient is assessed as needing an appointment.




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