NEW urgent treatment services have got off to a “good start” in hospitals in Clacton and Dovercourt following a rebranding of the health care they provide.

Last year minor injuries units in Clacton Hospital and the Fryatt Hospital, in Dovercourt, faced the threat of closure from NHS bosses as a result of cuts to funding.

Marches in protest of the proposed alterations to the walk-in centres, however, persuaded bosses to keep the units open, but they revealed changes would be made.

Minor injuries units at Clacton District Hospital and Fryatt Hospital will now been known as “urgent treatment centres”, although there will be little change to the services they offer.

The type of health care provided by the two units, which are run by Anglian Community Enterprise, have also been reworked and staff have been reequipped.

The hope is the changes will reduce the number of patients heading to Colchester Hospital’s A&E department for non-emergency issues.

The reshaping, which has so far been described as running smoothly, came into effect last Tuesday morning and about 100 patients have already experienced the new services.

A spokesman from Anglian Community Enterprise said: “The Clacton urgent treatment centre is not a huge change of service delivery for us but we were ready and prepared at 8am Tuesday morning.

“To be honest it was a fairly normal Tuesday for us; the service ran smoothly, and we saw about 100 patients.

“It is obviously still early days, but this is a good start.

“Although part of the urgent treatment service, the Fryatt Hospital in Dovercourt has remained a minor injuries unit only, operating the same hours, therefore the service offering was no different.”

Patients can use the minor injuries unit in the Fryatt Hospital between 9am and 5pm.

Staff are able to assist with injuries such as broken bones, strains and sprains, cuts and grazes and burns, as well as minor head injuries.

Minor, but urgent, illnesses such as ear, throat or skin infections, or illnesses linked to long-term health problems, can also be seen and helped at the centres.

Patients looking to have a walk-in blood test will still need to go their GP, and the seriously ill will continue to be treated in Colchester’s A&E.