A MAJOR consultation has commenced over urgent care services in Bury.

Clinical commissioners, launching the four-week exercise, say the current urgent care arrangements are 'confusing'.

This has left a number of people not knowing the appropriate service to attend for injuries or minor ailments, they claim.

Health chiefs believe many go to either A&E or a walk-in centre and wait a few hours to be seen, when another service might have accommodated them better.

And the feedback from patients has been that they often have to go to more than one place to get the right care.

Under the consultation, a number of options are being put forward.

But the preferred choice would see a redesign at Fairfield General to create a new urgent treatment centre (UTC), open around-the-clock.

This would involve relocating Bury Walk-in Centre, currently open 7am to 3pm, to be part of an integrated and enhanced service with a walk-in option.

The UTC would also include mental health services, GP out of hours services and the treatment of less serious cases that are currently seen in A&E.

The service would be run by a team of nurses, GPs, mental health and other health and care professionals who can manage wound care, and there would be access to tests like bloods and X-rays, which are currently not available at Bury Walk-in Centre.

Dr. Jeff Schryer, a local GP and chairman of Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: "Our proposal aims to make it easier for people to find their way around urgent care services and to support them to access care outside of normal working hours and at weekends."

Cllr. Andrea Simpson, deputy council leader and health cabinet member, added: "By working in collaboration with our local health and care providers, our proposal secures the future of a walk-in facility, with longer opening hours, connections to more professionals and access to diagnostics like X-ray and blood tests.

Consultation documents are available at GP practices and walk-in centres or can be requested by calling 0161 253 7636. The documents are also available online at www.buryccg.nhs.uk.

Public meetings are planned for Tuesday, February 25, from 12.30pm, and Wednesday, March 4, from 6pm, both in the Main Hall, Elizabethan Suite, Bury Town Hall.

Requests for presentations to specific groups or meetings can be sent by e-mail to buccg.communications@nhs.net or by calling 0161 253 7636.

Views can be sent by letter to NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group, Communications and Engagement Team (Urgent Care), Townside Primary Care Centre, 1 Knowsley Place, Knowsley Street, Bury, BL9 0SN or via e-mail to is buccg.communications@nhs.net before March 8.