While you are tucking into your turkey this year, spare a thought for the St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre Urgent Treatment team, who will be on hand to help those with injuries and illnesses throughout the festive season and into the New Year.
Penny Daniels, hospital director at the centre in Milton Road, said: “Christmas is becoming an increasingly busy time for us, as people realise there is an alternative to A&E for minor burns, cuts, fractures and illness. We have X-ray facilities, advance nurse and paramedic practitioners who can prescribe, and much shorter waiting times than you would expect at a busy general hospital.”
Visitors to the centre could find themselves treated by senior nurse practitioner Linda Barton. Linda said: “I am working all day on Christmas Day. I am going to take my grandchildren to a pantomime on Christmas Eve and then I am having Boxing Day lunch with my family, so I will not miss out on the Christmas fun.”
“Christmas has become busier in the UTC over the years. We see cuts from people having slipped while carving their turkey and from broken glasses as they wash up. We also see people seeking support for ongoing medical problems or who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.”
And Linda has advice for parents and grandparents who are buying bikes, skateboards and skates for loved ones this year. She said: “Every year we see the results of bumps and falls. Please make sure you buy the appropriate safety gear and make sure that it is used – they really do make a vast difference and can save your special person from facing serious injury.”
The centre is open on weekends and bank holidays between 8am-10pm; and a GP is on site between 10am-2pm and 4pm-8pm. The service is open to all NHS patients, with no appointments required.
Penny said: “The team, which includes a GP, can deal with most minor illness and injury issue but cannot treat patients experiencing chest pain, breathing difficulties, major injuries, severe stomach pains or conditions likely to require hospital admission. If you’re unsure of where to go and require further advice, please call 111. They can give you advice. However, in an emergency, always dial 999.”
Current waiting times at the UTC can be found at http://www.stmarystreatmentcentre.nhs.uk/utc/