The A&E at the Friarage Hospital changes to an urgent treatment centre from today.
Although the change has been labelled as temporary by the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, senior doctors admitted at a public meeting last week that the move is likely to be permanent.
From today, the urgent treatment centre will not be able to treat severe chest pains, unconsciousness, severe breathing difficulties and uncontrollable bleeding.
However, adults and children will still be able to get 24/7 treatment at the hospital for more minor issues, such as suspected broken bones, cuts and grazes, strains and sprains, infections, vomiting and coughs and colds.
The public will not need an appointment to attend and can just walk in, or may be directed to the centre via NHS 111.
Trust bosses say the new system will be staffed by the current A&E team.
They say the innovative new system will mean the hospital can continue to deal with unplanned issues without the need for an anaesthetist, following difficulties filling vacancies for the role.
They added: “A medical consultant will continue to be on site to assess and triage all GP and 999 patients and will make a medical assessment and decision to admit a patient to hospital in our clinical decisions unit, which will remain unchanged.
“We will also have a rapid diagnostic service supporting the urgent treatment centre, in order to make early clinical decisions and ensure as many patients are treated at the Friarage as possible.”
Officials say the majority of patients treated at the Friarage will continue to receive treatment at the hospital.
For more details ion the changes click here.