Letter from NHS Kent & Medway
URGENT TREATMENT CENTRES (UTCs)
The CCG is in the final stages of introducing urgent treatment centres (UTCs) across east Kent as part of a national requirement to deliver same day minor illness and injury care via UTCs. These centres are required to deliver against a national specification with clear quality standards that cannot be delivered through previous minor injury contracts.
In Ashford, the new UTC will replace the minor injury service run by a number of GP practices from 1 November. This UTC will offer patients more services than the existing arrangements and cover both minor illness and injury, as well as being open 24 hours a day.
Under this change, patients will still have access to their local GP practice at the weekend and evening as extra appointments are available. These were introduced a couple of years ago and will continue across all Ashford practices.
UTCs have been introduced across east Kent following a change in national policy to offer patients a universal standard for when they need urgent care. The Ashford UTC is run by an alliance of Ashford GPs and EKHUFT staff and will reduce demand on A&E as the UTC is equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common urgent conditions that people might otherwise have attended A&E for. Please be assured that the Ashford practices have been involved with the development of the UTC through this alliance.
Appointments at a UTC can be booked by calling 111 which means patients will not have to wait once at the centre. This booking system will help us to have Covid-secure services for everyone at a time when the NHS is working closely with its local partners to meet these challenges.