Out-of-hours clinic for 111 callers gets green light for Norwich city centre switch

The Out Of Hours service could be about to move to Rouen House. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Out Of Hours service could be about to move to Rouen House. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Patients directed to visit a clinician after calling the NHS 111 line out-of-hours, will be seen at a new city location in the future.

At the moment, those who ring the non-emergency line late at night or in the early hours, who are then assessed as needing to see a clinician, are told to make their way to the Norwich Community Hospital in Bowthorpe Road.

However, city councillors have just agreed plans which means the location that patients head to will be switched.

Instead, they will go to Rouen House, in Rouen Road. This change has not come into play yet, and may not do so until several months.

That building also houses the walk-in centre and Norwich Practices Health Centre.

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Norwich Practices Ltd (NPL) had asked the council to allow the building to be used for the out of hours service between 6pm and 8am seven days a week.

It will not mean the walk-in centre, which currently shuts at 9pm, would remain open longer.

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The out-of-hours service, run by IC24, is specifically for those referred after calling the 111 number.

The switch had been backed by the OneNorwich Primary Care Leadership Board and the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group.

Dr Simon Cooke, chairman of OneNorwich, said: 'Having a central location that local people understand is the hub for all non-emergency services is a logical and helpful move.

'It will reduce pressure on A&E attendances and allow much better communications between primary health care services, to enable patients to be seen by the right clinician, in the right venue, at the right time.'

There were three objections, with people living nearby worried about potential noise from visitors, staff and vehicles. They also raised concerns about parking.

However, NPL told the council that, during the last year at the current site, the average number of patients was never more than five patients an hour and, for most of the night, it was only one or two patients an hour.

City Hall's planning committee agreed the proposals, with conditions, today.

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