A NEW Urgent Treatment Centre is set to open at Wharfedale Hospital in the New Year.

The news follows a consultation by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about its proposals to run five centres (UTC) across the city - including one at Otley.

The CCG held a follow-on meeting about its plans at Leeds City Museum last week when it confirmed that it hoped to have Otley's UCT up and running at Wharfedale Hospital in early 2020.

Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon), who attended, said: "I was able to hear confirmation that one of these UTCs will be based at Wharfedale Hospital in an expanded service that combines the minor injuries unit with GP services that can be accessed during the day, in the evening and at weekends.

"This will allow patients the ability to just turn up and be seen by a GP or other health care professionals, with access to simple diagnostics like urinalysis, ECG and X-rays, and will be open from 8am to 11pm seven days a week.

"The UCT should, in time, become part of an integrated urgent and emergency care service working in conjunction with the ambulance service, NHS111, local GPs, hospital Accident and Emergency services and other local providers.

"This is clearly great news for patients, staff and the community and one I welcome."

MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) said: "I welcome the new Urgent Treatment Centre and hope that it is in place for as early in the coming winter as possible.

"This should reduce some of the pressure from our drastically overstretched accident and emergency departments and reduce hospital visits to Leeds and Harrogate.

"It is important to remember that as good as this move is, it is no substitute for a properly funded NHS, something that we have not seen since the last Labour Government a decade ago."

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group said it was pleased to confirm that five UTCs were to be established across Leeds. A spokesperson said: "The CCG has already established an urgent treatment centre in south Leeds, at the St George’s Centre in Middleton, and is looking to open the second centre at Wharfedale Hospital in 2020."

Director of Operational Delivery at NHS Leeds CCG, Sue Robins, added: “The urgent treatment centres will offer a range of services including support for minor injuries and illnesses and diagnostic tests, including x-rays and urine tests, for some conditions - and will include pre-bookable appointments through the NHS 111 service.”

The CCG is also reminding people that there are also other ways to get help if they need urgent care - for conditions that require quick attention but are not serious or life-threatening - including through calling the NHS 111 number.