Urgent care services in Wirral working together to reduce wait times

News - 06 March 2024

Urgent care services, including urgent treatment centres (UTC), walk-in centres (WIC) and minor injuries units provide medical help when it’s not a life-threatening emergency. They can diagnose and deal with many of the common problems people go to A&E for.

The Trust operates two walk-in centres in Wallasey and Eastham, a minor injuries unit and we operate the UTC next to the emergency department at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (WUTH).

Managing waiting times are key to ensuring patients received a good experience with timely access to treatment. Since January of this year, over 80,000 people have attended urgent care services with an average of 97-99% seen in under 4 hours.

In November 2023 7,363 patients attended the UTC or walk-in centres in Wirral. Of this number:

  • 7,216 (98%) of people were seen and treated within 4 hours.
  • 1,169 UTC patients were streamed away from A&E, enabling emergency medicine specialists to focus on those with higher acuity need.

During the same period, the top 5 reasons for attendance included:

  • Wound care – dressings / suture removal
  • Throat (cough)
  • Injury of shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand
  • Injury of hip, leg, knee, ankle, foot
  • Rash / localised swelling

To support patients who require urgent care, digital information screens have been deployed across all sites displaying live data on waiting times. The screens also share public information on the types of conditions seen, signposting to alternative services (111, pharmacy), seasonal campaigns and who staff are.

Between January and November 2023 urgent care services received high levels of positive feedback:

“We were seen very quickly. In fact we were in an out in under an hour. All the staff very very friendly, knowledgeable and kind. The walk in centres provided an excellent service. Thank you.”

“Absolutely fantastic staff. My son is autistic and they were brilliant with him. Quick wait time and professional. Truly a credit to NHS.”

“Friendly staff who put me at my ease. Efficient and very short waiting time.

WCHC have a range of plans underway to support urgent care services throughout winter. These include scoping the provision of ECGs in urgent care to increase diagnostics, expanding point of care testing and reducing the management of chronic wounds which is part of a wider piece of work across the system.

WCHC continue to stream patients away from A&E and promote and signpost to pharmacies with a prescribing pharmacist.

For more information on Wirral’s UTC and WICs visit www.wchc.nhs.uk