Reduced hours at urgent care unit draws criticism

A move to cut the opening hours at a 24-hour urgent care center has been opposed by residents who want it to stay open around the clock.

Opening hours at the Crawley Urgent Treatment Center have changed from 07:30 BST to 22:00 as part of a pilot scheme.

Anyone needing overnight help are advised to use NHS 111 or attend an emergency departments for life-saving care.

The NHS said the move was to ensure “safe staffing levels”, but Josh Towning, from Langley Green, said the closest place to get help was now 30 minutes away.

Josh Towning said the move to reduce operating hours was “appalling” [BBC]

Mr Towning said “I think it’s appalling. We need something in the area where we can go for an emergency.

“They need to rethink.”

Crawley resident Janooja Thiva said she would have to travel to Redhill if she needed urgent help overnight.

She said: “I don’t drive, I have two babies, and it’s going to be very difficult.”

She said her bus-driver husband worked on a rota in London, adding: “In an emergency, I have to find my own way.”

Janooja ThivaJanooja Thiva
Janooja Thiva said she had two babies, did not drive, and her husband worked shifts [BBC]

Susan and Eric Reeve, from Horley, also had concerns.

Ms Reeve said: “I think it’s essential to keep it 24 hours for young people mainly, and elderly.”

Mr Reeve said: “People are used to things being there, and when they suddenly turn up and it’s not there and they have to go somewhere else, then it’s another half an hour journey.”

In a statement, the NHS said the pilot scheme would allow it to “reallocate overnight staff into the daytime when the unit sees the most patients”.

It said data showed most patients attended between 07:30 and 22:00 with an average of two patients per hour using the overnight service.

Emergency departments are based at East Surrey Hospital, Redhill; Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath; Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton; Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester.

Urgent treatment centers are expected to be open 12 hours a day as a minimum, the NHS website states.

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