NHS patients in County Durham who need overnight treatment may be able to get a home visit when an urgent care centre closes next month.
Instead, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) and NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is offering an overnight home visit service for patients in Peterlee and Sedgefield who need urgent care for minor injuries and illnesses.
A decision was made earlier this year to close the centre between midnight and 8am because of low attendances.
Dr Stewart Findlay, Chief Officer at DDES CCG said: "We have worked closely with CDDFT to re-design the service in a way which is more convenient for patients by removing the need for them to travel in the early hours of the morning to receive treatment.
“If a patient needs to be seen urgently, between midnight and 8am, a clinician will now come to their home with the most urgent cases seen within one hour.”
The centre will still be open between 8am and midnight and is available to patients who need urgent treatment for things like cuts and grazes, sprains, simple broken bones, infections, minor eye and back injuries, ear and throat infections, allergic reactions and vomiting and diarrhoea.
The new service will be available from midnight on Monday, January 6.
Patients needing treatment should call the NHS on 111.
People who would have previously been asked to attend the urgent care centre will instead speak to a clinician who will discuss and agree the most appropriate care.
This may include a home visit or an appointment with another service.
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have carefully reviewed the use of the urgent treatment centre overnight in Peterlee, together with our partners in the local clinical commissioning group.
“The review highlighted that the service was being used by very few people overnight and that actually by re-designing the service we could offer people better alternatives during this time.
“This might include a home visit or a phone call from a GP to determine clinical need – after being accessed through the 111 service.
“We will continue to monitor the services following the change.”