The opening hours of the Urgent Care Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital are set to change due to low overnight visitor numbers.

From Sunday, January 2, 2022, the UCC will close at 10pm, and reopen at 8am every morning.

Patients already in the UCC being treated, or waiting to be treated, at 10pm will continue to be cared for appropriately.

The decision, made by the governing body of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, with support from East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, was made due to low overnight attendance numbers.

“We always want to provide the best care to our patients and our local community,” said Nick Carver, chief executive of East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

“With a fall in the number of patients using the UCC overnight, there is a reduced need for the centre to stay open during these hours and we can better use our resources elsewhere, where the demand is greater.

“Emergency care remains available if you need it and if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do, NHS 111 can help to make sure you get the right care in the right place, either online or by calling 111.”

The governing body found that, on average, less than one person per hour visits the UCC between 10pm and 8am.

The change will allow resources to be better used where they are needed, for example at Lister Hospital, where demand is far higher.

“The information we have about the UCC shows that it is very regularly and consistently used throughout the day, but that overnight, very few people use its services,” said Dr Prag Moodley, chair of the CCG and a Hertfordshire GP.

“We’ve seen over a number of years that this doesn’t change when we get to the even busier winter period.

“We want to make sure that all our patients in need have access to excellent urgent care services, with NHS 111 as the gateway to the right care, first time.

"Following an assessment by NHS 111 on the phone or online, if you need a doctor’s appointment at night an appointment will be made for you to see a GP at a clinical base near you, including the one in Welwyn Garden City."