A NEW urgent treatment centre looks set open in Colchester this October.

The facility will open at the front of the Colchester Hospital building as part of redevelopment plans for its main entrance which will include a Marks and Spencer, WH Smith, and Costa Coffee shop, the Gazette can reveal.

There will also be more consulting rooms and a relatives’ waiting area which will be open in November.

The urgent treatment centre (UTC) will replace the existing walk-in centre facility offered at the neighbouring Primary Care Centre.

The Primary Care Centre will to continue to operate its GP surgery, run by Care UK.

The area currently occupied by the walk-in centre will be used for other primary care services, with details still to be agreed by health bosses.

Urgent treatment centres treat problems such as suspected broken limbs, strains and sprains, cuts and grazes, bites and stings, scalds and burns, and minor head injuries.

Patients with ear, throat or skin infections and exacerbation of long-term conditions, can also be treated.

They are GP-led, open at least 12 hours a day, every day and offer appointments that can be booked through 111 or through a GP referral.

Alison Power, director of operations at Colchester Hospital, said: “We are building an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Colchester Hospital.

“It is part of the extension at the front of the building next to the new retail units and will replace and expand the current walk-in centre facility at the Primary Care Centre to include minor illness and injury.

“The UTC is part of a wider programme of work to transform the way urgent care services are currently delivered.

“It will offer assessment, triage and treatment at the front of the hospital, which will help those with urgent care needs access the right advice or treatment in the right place, first time.

“It is due to open in October and staff will be able to treat patients for common conditions and ailments they often go to the Emergency Department for.

“This will free up our emergency teams to offer care and support to the patients who are in most need of their help and expertise.”

The Emergency Department at Colchester Hospital has frequently come under intense pressure to treat soaring patient numbers, particularly during winter.

The relocation of the walk-in centre is part of a package of changes commissioned by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), following a consultation.

The CCG is investing nearly £10million per year  in providing the new urgent treatment service which will also include an urgent treatment centre at Clacton Hospital and continuation of the Minor Injuries Unit at Fryatt Hospital, Harwich.

Under the package patients can now book appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional who can help with illness or injury in the evenings or at the weekend, with a range of slots available.

There are also more ways that patients can get advice from a GP or practice nurse, including over the telephone and online.

Patients will be able to book appointments at the UTC by calling 111.