A NEW urgent care centre is set to be created at Sunderland Royal Hospital, health bosses have revealed.
The minor injuries unit (MIU) at Grindon Lane Primary Care Centre (PCC) could soon close.
Now, under new proposals, a 24-hour unit will be set up at the Royal to serve patients in the area.
It has not yet been decided where in the grounds of the hospital the new unit will be.
The commissioners have also announced that a GP-led minor injury and illness unit will operate at Houghton PCC.
Patients will still be able to visit Bunny Hill and Washington PCCs to access treatment.
Dr Iain Gilmour, vice-chairman of Sunderland CCG, said: “We are committed to delivering excellent health outcomes for our patient population.
“Whatever the need, whatever the location, we want to make sure that people get the right care, from the right person, in the right place at the right time.”
But Sandhill councillor Debra Waller, who has been campaigning against the closure of Grindon MIU, said: “People from as far away as Washington have told me it is easier to come to Grindon MIU than to go to the hospital or Houghton, so how is this making services more accessible to them when they need treatment?
“At the moment Grindon MIU has free parking, large glass windows and excellent lighting allowing patients to feel safe even at night.
“If it was re-located they could find issues with parking costs, especially in this current economic climate.”
Health commissioners making the decision said the changes will mean easier access to services for all Wearsiders.
Doctors admitted earlier this year that the creation of the walk-in units failed to significantly reduce the strain on the A&E department at Sunderland Royal in recent years.
Sunderland GP Dr Ian Pattison, chairman of Sunderland CCG, said: “Opening a new minor injury and illness unit at Houghton Primary Care service will ensure that local people have better access to treatment for minor ailments than they do at the moment.
“It’s a priority for the CCG to ensure that we provide equal access to these types of services across the city of Sunderland.”
Health chiefs are also calling on people to attend a number of public meetings to give their views on the changes.
The Sandhill Centre, in Grindon Lane, will host the first of these on Thursday, September 13, at 6pm.
Sunderland Bangladeshi Centre, in Tatham Street, will hold an event on Tuesday, October 16 at 6pm, with Houghton PCC, in Brinkburn Crescent, hosting a meeting on Tuesday, November 6.
The Sandhill Centre will hold another public meeting on Tuesday, November 20, starting at 6pm.
The consultation ends on November 30.
Members of the public can now have their say about the plans by filling in a questionnaire which is available at www.sotw.nhs.uk/yoursay/consultations or by calling 529 7038.