Agenda item

Widnes Urgent Treatment Centre: Update


The Board considered a report of the Executive Director – Adults, which provided an update in relation to Widnes Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and the current service offer delivered.


Widnes UTC was open 365 days a year from 8am to 9pm and is located in the multi-service Health Care Resource Centre (HCRC) in Widnes.  Patients could walk in or book appointments for a number of different conditions, as listed in the report.  It was noted that there was a GP on site at Widnes 7 days a week for 6 hours per day, as well as medical, nursing and administrative staff on each shift, providing a high quality urgent treatment service.  It was highlighted that the service met all the requirements of the 2017 UTC National Standards and was one of the only UTCs in Cheshire and Merseyside to do so.


The report outlined the service offer in detail, which included the workforce, accessing the service; performance and activity, partnerships and collaborations and gave examples of communications and promotions taking place. 


Members were referred to the detailed performance information in Appendices 1 to 5, which presented comparisons with other UTC providers and other performance data.


Members requested clarity on situations where it was reported that some patients arriving at Widnes UTC were not seen at Widnes UTC, but referred to Whiston Hospital Emergency Department.  It was commented that some patients required additional diagnostic tests that were not available at the UTC.  Staffing levels were adequate at the UTC but some diagnostic testing required staff with additional skill sets that were only available at the Hospital, hence the referral.    Decisions were made according to the needs of the patients and their safety. Broadly speaking, referrals happened occasionally, as most patients attending the UTC were treated there. 


The following additional information was provided following Members questions:


·         Each UTC had a close working relationship with its nearest Hospital – Runcorn UTC worked with Warrington Hospital and Widnes UTC worked with Whiston Hospital;

·         There had been a recent increase in the 4-hour wait, which was dealt with by additional staff being on duty and increased partnership working; noted that Widnes UTC experiences a morning surge with people calling in before work etc;

·         The communications campaign was rolled out in December 2022 so it was too early to tell if there were any results from this yet, such as successfully diverting patients from A&E to the UTC’s;

·         Healthwatch welcomed the communications campaign and offered assistance in raising awareness of this.  They had carried out surveys in both UTC’s recently and advised of two main areas of complaint: not enough waiting room capacity; and the lack of a dashboard for the queue, which would help patients to decide whether or not to wait or go back at a later time when it would be quieter; and

·         Messages on health services were communicated to the residents of Halton who were given a choice about where to go for treatment to receive the care they needed.


RESOLVED:  That the Board notes the report.



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