SIX minor injuries units in Somerset will get a new name from April 1.

The units, which are run by Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, will be known as urgent treatment centres (or UTC for short).

They will provide exactly the same services as minor injuries units from the same team of specialist nurses, paramedics and healthcare assistants.

The name change brings them in line with units across the country.

Somerset’s UTCs run seven days a week, from 8am to 9pm (last patient at 8.30pm) at community hospitals in Bridgwater, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip (Glastonbury).

Burnham-on-Sea Community Hospital will remain as an MIU as the hours are slightly shorter – 10am to 6pm (last patient at 5.30pm) – and, unlike the other six, it doesn’t have x-ray facilities.

Mike Paynter, consultant nurse for community urgent care services at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Although we’re changing the name to urgent treatment centres, there will be absolutely no difference for patients, except you may see different signage in places.

“Our team of emergency practitioners, who are clinicians with specialised training and skills in urgent care, will still be here to provide care and treatment if you have a non-life-threatening injury or illness, and want to be seen quickly – usually in under two hours.

“At all six of our urgent treatment centres based across Somerset in our community hospitals at Bridgwater, Chard, Frome, Minehead, Shepton Mallet and West Mendip (Glastonbury), as well as our MIU at Burnham-on-Sea, can treat a wide range of non-life-threatening minor illnesses and injuries.

“You don’t need an appointment to attend, although we’d recommend contacting NHS 111 first to ensure the Urgent Treatment Centre is the right place for your problem…and there’s even free parking!

“With the Easter weekend and May Bank Holidays fast approaching, it’s even more important to know what NHS services are available, so we’d recommend either calling NHS 111 or going to the NHS Somerset website for more information.”

Common examples of what our Urgent Treatment Centres and MIU can treat include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Broken bones (no x-ray available at Burnham-on-Sea)
  • Cuts and wounds
  • Bites
  • Minor head injuries.
  • Chest infections
  • Throat infections
  • Eye infections
  • Urinary infections
  • Emergency contraception

“If you’re not sure which service you need, we’d strongly encourage you to contact the 24/7 free NHS 111 telephone health advice line,” Mike continues.

“For life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, unconsciousness and breathing problems call 999, please do not attend an Urgent Treatment Centre or MIU.”