PEOPLE are being urged to use a £22million health centre after a new company took it over.
Newcastle-based Northern Doctors Urgent Care (NDUC), was chosen by Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to run new care centres in Houghton, Bunny Hill and Washington earlier this year.
Since September, they have been running the sites, which, like Washington before, now provide a GP-led service rather than a nurse-led operation.
The £22million centre in Houghton was completed two years ago, but health bosses said many members of the public were not aware of what services it provided, and when they would be able to access them.
NDUC chief executive John Harrison, said: “Although we are now a GP-led service, their work is being supplemented by nurse practitioners.
“There’s an X-ray facility here, even though it’s run by City Hospitals Sunderland, but we are able to treat a number of different conditions.
“If a patient rings 111 and is directed here, they can make an appointment and come to the centre at that time, and they will be assessed as soon as they come in.”
Bosses also say that they are braced for an increase in attendances as winter sets in.
“One of the things that I can say it to encourage patients to sort out their prescriptions in advance of the Christmas period,” added Mr Harrison.
“Please check that you have enough of your prescription medication before days like Christmas Day, as it’s stressful for the patient and takes up resources.”
Houghton Urgent Care Centre is open from 10am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays.