Health chief Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director for the NHS, officially opened Corby Urgent Care Centre on Tuesday (August 6).
He praised everyone involved in the project and said he was impressed by facilities at the centre at the Willowbrook Health campus, off Cottingham Road.
Sir Bruce said: “The centre is improving the quality of care which is being provided cheaper, freeing up money which is available to help the people of Corby.
“The NHS is under scrutiny to see how we will make improvements. My challenge to others is to visit this centre and see how it’s done.”
Sir Bruce was given a tour of the complex which was commissioned with the help of the partners of Lakeside Surgery, NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group and Corby Council.
It provides patients in the Corby area with a doctor-led urgent care service, relieving the pressure on Kettering General Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
The official opening was attended by local GPs, Corby Council’s chief executive Norman Stronach, mayor Judy Caine and the borough council leader Tom Beattie, as well as representatives of Maber Architects, the company which designed the centre and builders Kier.
Dr Peter Wilczynski, chairman of NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group said “We know that patients want to receive care closer to home and the urgent care centre is just one way to ensure they get care when they need it which in the past may have necessitated a 16-mile round trip to Kettering General Hospital’s accident and emergency department.
“The centre is not a replacement for a GP in treating day to day health concerns, or the Accident and Emergency Department for life- threatening illnesses and injuries. It provides the patient an alternative option when they need medical treatment fast.”
At the centre there are facilities for urgent blood testing, x-ray and ultrasound, as well as observation couches where patients can be assessed and treated.
Dr Stuart Maitland-Knibb, clinical lead for the centre, added: “It bridges the gap between primary care and emergency medicine - offering safe, effective diagnosis and treatment with the use of facilities that before have only been available in hospital.”
The centre is open from 8am to 8pm 365 days a year on a walk-in basis.