Hundreds of patients used a new urgent care facility at Hartlepool hospital in its first weekend.
Health chiefs launched the new integrated GP-led facility at the University Hospital of Hartlepool on Saturday, April 1.
It has seen the minor injuries and walk in services transfer from the One Life Hartlepool medical centre in Park Road.
About 350 people accessed the new site over its first weekend.
A similar urgent care unit has also opened at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.
It is being run in a alliance between North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals; Hartlepool and Stockton Health (the local GP Federation) and North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.
NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has commissioned the service, says the initial feedback from users has been positive.
Gary Wright, the Assistant Director of Transformation at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “The urgent care centres opened over the weekend and were very well received, there were approximately 500 attendances at the North Tees site and approximately 350 at the Hartlepool site, as a Trust we are very excited about the new service and the benefits for patients, however we would advise anyone wishing to walk in to the centres to call 111 in the first instance.”
Karen Hawkins, Director of Commissioning and Transformation for the CCG added: “It is really encouraging that a number of patients have accessed the new urgent care services at both North Tees and Hartlepool hospital during the weekend.
“We look forward to seeing the benefits that this new integrated service will deliver to patients, although patients can walk in we would encourage people to call 111 for an appointment to minimise their waiting times and to ensure they are seen by the appropriate health professional when attending.”
The One Life Hartlepool centre remains open for other community services including speech and language therapy, audiology, podiatry, musculoskeletal services and a diabetes one stop shop.
The urgent care units are open around the clock but patients are advised book an appointment first by phoning 111.
Anyone unsure about whether they need to see their normal GP (doctor) or attend an urgent care centre should also call NHS 111 for advice.
Health providers say the changes will mean that patients see the right person in the right place.
An information leaflet is available to download by going to: www.nth.nhs.uk/news/changes-urgent-care/