Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre night closure could be delayed
PUBLISHED: 12:29 21 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:29 21 October 2019
The decision on whether Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre will be shut at night could be delayed, the NHS group responsible for deciding how the budget is spent has revealed.
The East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says the 10pm-8am closure would free up nursing staff to work at the A&E department in Stevenage's Lister Hospital.
But the CCG may decide at a public meeting on Thursday to delay this decision until March 31, 2020, and try to raise public awareness of the 24-hour service instead.
READ MORE: Welwyn Hatfield politicians fight to stop partial closure of Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre
The proposal to close overnight is based on current use, with the group pointing out that the urgent care centre at the New QEII Hospital has an average of less than one person per hour - between 10pm and 6am - dropping in for treatment.
The CCG also maintains of the people who do use it, 86 per cent leave without the need for further investigation and require no treatment.
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Welwyn Hatfield residents, according to a CCG consultation carried out from June to September, have rejected closing the urgent care centre - for minor injuries and illnesses - from 10pm to 8am.
More than two thirds (70 per cent) of residents in the borough disagreed with the proposed changes, while outside of Welwyn Hatfield two thirds - 64 per cent - agreed that the UCC should be closed overnight and nursing staff moved to Lister.
NHS employees were also supportive of the proposal, with more than half (54 per cent) agreeing, whereas 60 per cent of non-NHS staff disagreed with the proposed changes. 85 per cent of those that use the UCC at night also disagreed with the closure.
The NHS group also suggests that people in Welwyn Hatfield, who need medical help outside of normal GP surgery hours, can call the NHS 111 number or seek advice online at 111.nhs.uk.
Patients can book appointments online through the website either at their homes, if they are too ill to travel, or at a GP surgery for the next day.
The final decision on whether to close the UCC between 10pm and 8am or keep it open until March 2020 while the CCG try to make more people aware of the service will be made at Welwyn Garden City's Focolare Centre for Unity in Parkway this Thursday, October 24, at 6pm.
You can register for the meeting at: eventbrite.co.uk/e/extraordinary-meeting-in-public-of-east-and-north-hertfordshire-ccg-governing-body-tickets-66670716909
If you want to review East and North Herts CCG's full report ahead of the meeting please click here.