THE ‘fantastic’ new urgent care centre at Burnley General Hospital will open to the public on Tuesday.
As well as the modern walk-in centre, the £9million facility will also house a children’s minor illnesses unit and GP out-of-hours doctors.
However, bosses stressed it is not a replacement for the old A&E ward, which was controversially closed in 2007, meaning emergency patients must travel to Blackburn.
The new facility replaces the ‘old and tired’ urgent care centre (UCC) on the Casterton Road side of the Burnley site, which will now be mothballed before a possible sale.
The GP service is being transferred from the St Peter’s Centre.
Martin Morgan, director of estates at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), said: “This brings urgent care into the better, more modern part of the site. Compared to what we’ve got now it’s fabulous.”
Vanessa Hollings, divisional general manager for family care, said: “Our teams just can’t wait to get into this building. It makes much more sense for the GP out-of-hours service to be co-located here, as there will be less confusion for patients about where to go, and the paediatric staff will be in shouting distance of urgent care.
“And hopefully the flow of patients going through will be much better. “But there will be no blue light ambulances coming here, as any patient needing emergency care has to go to Blackburn.”
Mr Morgan said Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle had been instrumental in securing government funding for the project, which means ELHT did not have to borrow money.
Mr Birtwistle said: “We got sold down the river when the old A&E unit got centralised at Blackburn and nothing will redeem that decision, but I think this still a fantastic facility.
“It took a lot of extremely hard work and lobbying with the former health secretary Andrew Lansley, and I was able to get Danny Alexander to sign it off at the treasury.
“Tuesday will be another brilliant day for Burnley.”
The first floor of the building will house a Child Development Centre, for children with complex needs and disabilities.
The UCC can provide treatment for any illnesses or injuries which aren’t life threatening, but still need treating quickly such as minor head injuries, suspected broken bones and fractures, sprains, cuts and scrapes, bites, eye problems and rising temperatures.