New Urgent Treatment Centre at Spalding area's Johnson Hospital launches today
New services are starting at the Johnson Hospital today - and health chiefs are now asking people what else they want offered at the facility.
The hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit has been upgraded to become an Urgent Treatment Centre - meaning it can offer a wide range of appointments to patients who won’t have to travel to Boston, King’s Lynn or Peterborough for help.
The minor injuries services at the facility, in Spalding Road, Pinchbeck, has been closed since the start of the Covid pandemic.
It reopens in its new form today (Thursday) and staff say they are keen to begin.
Tracy Pilcher, deputy chief executive and director of nursing, allied health professionals and operations at Lincolnshire Community Health Services - which runs the Johnson Hospital - said: “We are really looking forward to being back. I know people have missed it.
“The staff are looking forward to working in Spalding and welcoming the local population.
“Spalding is a beautiful environment to provide care in - it’s great for our staff, the facilities are very good.”
There are about 20 staff working in the Urgent Treatment Centre at the hospital - which is also home to a separate GP service and 32-bed ward.
During the pandemic, minor injuries staff have been working in Grantham or Boston in the last year - and other services have been offered remotely.
From today, people will be able to get appointments in the Johnson Hospital if they dial 111. That means they won’t have to sit and wait for treatment - although a walk-in service is still available too.
The Urgent Treatment Centre will be open from 8am until 6pm, seven days a week. It will look after sprains and strains, bites, stings, minor head injuries, cuts and grazes, skin complaints, vomiting, diarrhoea, colds, fevers and emergency contraception.
Tracy said: “We wouldn’t want patients to go to an emergency department unless it is absolutely needed.
“We really want our community hospitals to be used by the local population and want to make sure we get as many services in there as possible.”
She said there is a chance to offer more new services, adding: “We would love to hear from the public and find out what they need from us.
“What would be helpful to have here that would support care close to home so that you are not having to travel?”
South Holland district councillor Gary Taylor hailed the Johnson Hospital upgrade as a positive step for the area. He said: “This is really good news. It’s something we have been campaigning for for some time - it’s really needed.”
He added: “It’s nice to have some positive news at a time of doom and gloom - it will be good for everyone.”
l NHS111 is available 24/7 and all calls from a landline or mobile are free of charge. The NHS 111 service is also available online at 111.NHS.uk or use the NHS 111 app. In an emergency situation, patients should always dial 999.