Plea to Derbyshire residents to use 111 and UTC services to ease the burden on emergency departments

Derbyshire residents are being urged to think 111 and UTC for their non-life-threatening health needs as part of easing the pressure on big emergency departments (ED) and signposting people to the most appropriate care for their needs.
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People living in Derby, Ripley, Ilkeston, Buxton and Darley Dale near Matlock have access to five Urgent Treatment Centres (known as UTCs) which can treat a whole range of urgent but not life-threatening illnesses and injuries for which people seek same-day care.

All five UTCs are open from 8am to 8pm and staffed by paramedics and senior emergency nurse practitioners to treat everything from broken bones to cuts and gashes, minor eye infections, insect bites, bumps and bruises, scalds, wound infections and much more.

Health bosses want to raise public awareness of these local UTC services, especially now pressure on acute hospital services has never been greater, and also to encourage anyone with a non-life-threatening health emergency to contact NHS 111 (phone or online) before they set off anywhere for help.

Ripley Hospital is one of UTCs hubs in the county. Photo: Google EarthRipley Hospital is one of UTCs hubs in the county. Photo: Google Earth
Ripley Hospital is one of UTCs hubs in the county. Photo: Google Earth

The introduction of NHS 111 triage and same-day appointments ensures patients are quickly signposted to the best place for their injury or illness, do not have wasted journeys and ensures the NHS team is ready for them on arrival.

William Jones, chief operating officer for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are being urged to protect the NHS and we have seen how busy the big acute hospitals are with treating Covid-19 patients.

"We can all help by making sure people in Derby and Derbyshire know there are these alternative UTC NHS facilities locally ready to look after their non-life-threatening health emergencies, where they can get the help they need without a long wait.

"This is one practical way in which we can all ease the pressure on EDs and acute hospital staff.

“Even better, people can use the NHS 111 service first and get quickly in touch with someone trained to assess their problem, either on the phone or online, and give them a same-day appointment at a local UTC if that’s the best place for their needs, which cuts out any waiting around or uncertainty about whether they have come to the right place.”

The UTCs are at: Ilkeston Community Hospital, Ripley Community Hospital, Buxton Hospital, Whitworth Hospital, Darley Dale and Derby Urgent Treatment Centre.

Melissa Dalton, clinical lead for urgent treatment services at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust which runs the four county UTCs, said: “We’d definitely encourage patients to contact 111 first before jumping in the car.

“It is much better to get the right advice quickly and be given an appointment to attend an urgent treatment centre that same day if they need it. It means our clinical teams are ready for the patient or family as soon as they arrive and it gives patients more peace of mind that they are doing the right thing.

“On top of the stress of being worried about someone’s health you don’t want the anxiety of wondering if you are travelling to the right service.”