Vhi Healthcare is to open a Vhi SwiftCare Clinic in Waterford city this autumn in partnership with Centric Health and the Whitfield Clinic. The announcement was made at the weekend.

It will be the fourth Vhi SwiftCare Clinic and is the first to be located outside Dublin. A fifth clinic will also open this autumn in Cork.

The Waterford Vhi SwiftCare Clinic, which will provide 30 jobs, will be located in the Whitfield Clinic and will follow the same model which has already proved successful in the three existing facilities in Dublin, providing walk-in, rapid assessment, treatment and advice for patients with a range of minor injuries and illnesses.

The three existing Vhi SwiftCare Clinics have treated approximately 100,000 patients to date, with an average of 1,100 patients each week currently visiting the facilities. The top five conditions currently presenting at the clinics are soft tissue injuries, fractures, sprains and strains, respiratory problems and minor cuts. About 40% of patients visiting the clinics have required x-rays and the remainder have received consultations in relation to non skeletal presentations including minor burns, cuts requiring a stitch, sporting injuries and other non-urgent conditions.

Dr. Ray Power, Medical Director, Vhi SwiftCare Clinics, stated: “Our experience with the existing Vhi SwiftCare Clinics has shown that patients clearly understand the concept and the types of conditions that we treat. They welcome an alternative to visiting an A&E Department when they have a minor injury. We are pleased to bring this choice to patients in Waterford city and county”.

Aimée Madden, PR and Marketing Manager of the Whitfield Clinic commented: “Whitfield Clinic is delighted to partner with the Vhi SwiftCare Clinic team to provide the first walk-in, urgent care centre in Waterford. Studies have shown that one in two people attending A&E each year attend for treatment for minor injuries and illnesses that could be provided for in a community-based scenario such as the Vhi SwiftCare Clinics. Whitfield Clinic is proud to expand its existing services to provide this choice to patients with minor injuries”.

The Waterford Vhi SwiftCare Clinic will provide on site diagnostic x-ray services as well as access to blood pathology diagnostic services and Ultrasound facilities. There will also be a broad range of treatment services including suturing and plaster application as well as some follow up services such as fracture clinics and physiotherapy.

The aim is to provide an urgent care service and to ensure the patient is referred back to their regular GP as soon as appropriate. The clinic will also provide a community diagnostic service for local GP’s whereby patients, following referral by their GP, can simply walk-in during Clinic hours, directly obtain their diagnostic test and be advised to attend their GP who will be forwarded the results.

The Vhi SwiftCare Clinics are run as a joint initiative between Vhi Healthcare and Centric Health, a primary care medical company founded by Dr. Ray Power and Dr. Maurice Cox. The Waterford facility will be operated in partnership with the Whitfield Clinic which already provides a full community radiology service which they will expand to cover Vhi SwiftCare Clinic patients’ requirements.

The Vhi SwiftCare Clinics do not cover serious medical emergencies such as a patient experiencing difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, acute stomach pain, loss of consciousness or severe burns. Also the Clinics do not treat children under 12 months of age and pregnancy related conditions.

The Clinics can be visited by all members of the public, not just Vhi Healthcare members, and are open 365 days a year from 8am to 10pm. Patients are not required to make an advance appointment and ordinarily present themselves or are referred by their GP.

Patients are charged an initial consultation payment of €105 (or €55 if a patient is referred by their GP). However cases requiring further treatment or tests will have additional costs such as: X-ray – €75 to €95; Blood tests – €30 to €50; Stitches – €50 to €75; and Plastering €50 to €75.