RESIDENTS are being urged to make sure they use the town's new Urgent Treatment Centre - or face losing it.

The GP-led centre, which will work alongside A&E at the town's Alexandra Hospital, will open on Monday, December 3.

It will treat adults and children with minor or moderate illnesses and injuries.

It will be staffed by a GP and an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and open from noon until 9pm, seven days a week.

However, the centre will only run for a five month trial.

Redditch MP Rachel Maclean said: “We must make sure the Urgent Treatment Centre is used so we can prove to health bosses that this new-service must form part of the long-term vision for the future of the Alex.”

Back in February, after speaking to residents who were angry the centre still wasn’t operational despite health bosses promising residents this service last year, Mrs Maclean launched a petition calling on Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group CCG to bring forward, without further delay, plans for the promised service.

More than 1,000 residents signed the petition which Mrs Maclean presented to the House of Commons in May.

This new service was said to be key to the proposed model of acute services at the Alex after a number of services were centralised at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester.

Mrs Maclean welcomed the opening date announcement and said it was great to see a brand-new service opening at the hospital.

"This clearly demonstrates the Alex has a bright future and is essential to the delivery of healthcare in Worcestershire," she said.

"The Urgent Treatment Centre will provide parents with peace of mind that their children can still be treated at the Alex, which is currently the case at the moment. I hope this new service will also reduce pressures on A&E as it will provide residents with a real alternative to Accident and Emergency."

She added: “The Alex has continued to treat children brought by ambulance during the period there has been no A&E provision, so no child has been put at risk through lack of an emergency response during this period.

"The staff have been trained to assess and treat under 16s brought to their doors, in addition to paramedics and ambulance staff being able to treat patients."

A spokesperson for NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG said: “The CCG is introducing the Urgent Treatment Centre as a pilot as it provides us with the opportunity to review the impact that it has on patient waiting times and outcomes before making a decision on long-term investment.

"As part of this pilot we’ll also test out the operating hours to see how well they meet the anticipated demand.”