A brand new Urgent Care Centre has opened at Lewisham hospital as part of a £12m investment programme.
The centre complements the work of the Emergency Department and is located next door. It provides care for patients with illnesses and injuries that do not need to be treated in the A&E, but whose needs are still urgent.
EastLondonLines asked patients what they made of the new facility. Evelyn and Frank Thompson, an elderly couple from the area, each said it was a welcome addition to the hospital. Frank Thompson said: “It is still very chaotic in there. The entrance is a bit unclear. It is easy – once you get out – to know where you are, but getting in there is a different story. In the long run though, it will make a big difference.”
Another local resident, who was walking with the aid of a walking stick, said he had difficulty navigating the new centre. Giving his name as Morris, he said: “The corridors are very long to get to the centre from the other entrance, and if you have difficulty walking, then it becomes hard work before you have even got there!”
An 80 year old patient, also from Lewisham, was optimistic: “I do think it is chaotic. But I was a nurse many years ago, so I understand. It is always chaotic! They are trying to improve things, and at the same time clean and run the place. This is my first time here, and I think it will be good once it is finished.”
A spokesperson at the Trust said that the hospital’s administration is keen to improve the services based on patients’ feedback. He said: “The centre is on the High Street to make it as easy as possible to get in. But if people are finding they have access problems, we would ask them to please contact us on 0800 587 7027 which is the number for the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) so that we can try to address any concerns. There is also a website for patients to use for feedback or help.”
Claire Champion, Director of Operations & Nursing for Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Our improved urgent care facilities are just the latest development for the Trust. Over the last year, we have opened a range of new facilities including a birth centre, a children’s day care unit, outpatient services and a radiology suite.
“We are also upgrading the Trust’s main Emergency Department facilities to provide more space for services, and provide care in a better environment, with larger, better equipped resuscitation services. This work is scheduled to be completed in spring 2012”.
The Trust is working on seeing through these improvements, and the next on the list will be the upgrade of outpatient emergency services. Care in the UCC is provided by Emergency Nurse Practitioners, GPs, and hospital doctors. Online facility for help and feedback is at www.lewishampt.nhs.uk