Patients to benefit from new clinical units in Greater Manchester area

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Patients in the Greater Manchester area will soon be able to benefit from state of the art mobile clinical units, designed to give them faster access to a range of minor treatments.

The purpose built units are part of a £172 million pound investment over a 7 year period that aims to bring down waiting times for NHS treatment even further and so tackle some of the health inequalities people in Greater Manchester face.  Trevor Purt, Chief Executive of NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale PCT said: “A great deal has been done by the NHS in recent years to cut waiting lists and waiting times for treatment.  But we want to do more.  We want to make sure that anyone needing NHS treatment can get the best care possible as quickly as possible.

“This is particularly important for the local community in Greater Manchester, many of whom experience the poorest levels of health.”

The new units are part of the Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service and are the first of their kind in the UK.  They will operate from sites across Greater Manchester including Rochdale, Salford, Longsight, Denton, Stretford, Bolton and Oldham.  All of these will be run on behalf of the NHS by Care UK and offer longer opening hours and weekend appointments at most sites.  Patients will be seen by a Consultant and will be able to have most of the diagnostic tests they need, as well as some minor treatments, for example treatment for orthopaedic and rheumatology complaints, general surgery, treatment for ear, nose and throat problems.

Mark Hunt, managing director, Primary Care Division at Care UK, explains: “We wanted to give Greater Manchester residents a preview of this exciting new service that will soon be available to them.  The Mobile Clinical Units will provide an additional resource to the local NHS, which will provide quick and convenient access for patients to treatment and increase local capacity across the Greater Manchester healthcare system.  The ultimate aim is to enhance the patient experience.”

Mr Hunt continues: “We are expecting a very positive response from patients as this new service is all about how best we can benefit them.  The whole idea is to create a healthcare environment which gives the best possible experience to patients, with greater convenience and a short waiting time.”

Dr Rajesh Gulati, CATS Clinical Lead at Tameside and Glossop PCT said: “We’ve worked really closely with Care UK to make sure that these Mobile Clinical Units deliver high quality services in a local setting and to fully meet the clinical needs of patients.   We believe people will appreciate how spacious they are and what facilities can be provided in a mobile unit.  We are looking forward to hearing what people think.”
“The Greater Manchester NHS CATS is great news for the North West. It will mean patient have shorter waiting times, more health care provided closer to patients’ homes and improvements to patients’ experience of healthcare. We look forward to seeing the units in operation soon.”

The CATS programme has already created over 100 jobs in the Manchester area and this is expected to increase to over 160 in the next few months.  This includes Consultants, receptionists, administration and call centre staff.

Patients can make an appointment to be seen in one of the Mobile Clinical Units, either by being referred by their GP or via the NHS Choice website.  Patients can be referred into the service through their GPs from mid January, with the Mobile Clinical Units operating from 3rd February 2009.  For more information please telephone 0333 200 4042.


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