A new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) has opened at Lewes Victoria Hospital on the site of the former Minor Injury Unit – opening on time despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
To ensure the safety of staff and patients, changes to the way the service operates have been put in place in light of coronavirus.
Local people are asked not to arrive at the UTC unless they have first called NHS 111 or accessed NHS 111 online, where they will be assessed and directed to the most appropriate service for them. To enable appropriate social distancing and minimise wait times patients at the UTC will be seen by appointment only. There are very limited facilities for safely assessing those arriving without an appointment and anyone doing so will be asked to contact the appropriate service by phone initially. This is to minimise risk to staff and other patients during the challenging times created by Covid-19.
The former Minor Injury Unit at the site closed in November 2019 and has undergone extensive refurbishment works to now re-open, on schedule, as an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC).
Its successful completion is the result of close partnership working between Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, the local clinical commissioning group (CCG), and GPs from Foundry Healthcare Lewes, with the invaluable support of The Friends of Lewes Victoria Hospital.
The major improvement works started last year, well before the Covid-19 pandemic started and understandably this has had an effect on how services can be delivered from the new UTC during these unprecedented times.
The new centre is open 8am-8pm, seven days a week, and will help local people to receive the best treatment possible in the right healthcare setting for them. The UTC is equipped to diagnose and deal with common ailments such as strains and sprains, eye problems, suspected broken limbs, abdominal pain, minor head injuries, or cuts that need stitches.
East Sussex now has three UTCs – one at Lewes Victoria Hospital, one at Eastbourne District General Hospital, and one at The Conquest Hospital in Hastings. They join other UTCs across Sussex, and nationally, offering standardised services to help people easily recognise and know which services are available, wherever they are in the country.
Dr Sara Lightowlers, Medical Director at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our partner organisations, and our dedicated SCFT teams, for ensuring that these major improvement works were completed on schedule during these really challenging times. The new UTC will support our local healthcare system and the community it serves, helping us to deliver efficient, high quality and compassionate care to those who need it most.”
Dr Elizabeth Gill, Chief Medical Officer, Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The new UTC at Lewes will ensure local people receive the best treatment possible in the right setting for them, while supporting the wider local healthcare system to free up emergency care for those who need it most. I have no doubt that the UTC will hugely improve the care the local community receive for many years to come.”
The UTC is located at Lewes Victoria Hospital, Nevill Rd, Lewes