The NHS in south west London has today (20 October) announced plans to open a new service providing up to 480 urgent and routine appointments each week for local people at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton.

The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Queen Mary’s – previously run by St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – was closed in March to ensure the safety of patients and staff, as there was simply not enough space to separate walk in patients with Covid-19 symptoms and others using the service. This still remains the case.

While the UTC in its previous form will remain closed, GPs have worked together with the NHS locally and St George’s over the summer to develop a new approach to make it safe and convenient for patients to get the care they need at the Queen Mary’s site – this approach will be piloted from the end of November.

Led by Battersea Healthcare CIC (Wandsworth GP Federation), with support from St George’s, the pilot ‘enhanced primary care hub’ will provide much of the same diagnostics and treatments as the UTC, but through safe and convenient bookable same day or routine appointments.

GP services will provide urgent and routine GP appointments from the site through booked appointments.

Patients via 111 and local GPs will be able to book people into the service to keep the site free of Covid-19. It will not be possible to have walk in patients and those with Covid-19 symptoms should continue to dial 111.

The service is expected to provide same day urgent care from 8am to 8pm – with two emergency care clinicians provided by St George’s able to provide 308 appointments per week, and a GP will be available from 3pm to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday, expected to make 172 appointments a week.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant that the NHS has needed to make radical temporary changes in the way services work to ensure patients and staff are as safe as possible. No permanent changes will be considered without formally and comprehensively engaging with community and staff.

The NHS locally is working with local communities and patient groups to understand the impact of the changes so far. Work will continue to ensure the impact of the pilot service, in particular the booking element, is understood.

The pilot will begin by offering appointments to Wandsworth patients and plans are in place to extend it to other boroughs if successful, starting with Richmond.

The new pilot service for Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton announced today is expected to open at the end of November.

The UTC at Queen Mary’s remains closed, and patients should call NHS 111 for healthcare advice, or visit their nearest A&E if they require urgent or emergency care.