PATIENTS in Hampshire are set to benefit from a new NHS walk-in centre after it was given the green light by planners.

It will provide on-the-spot health and social care advice 365 days a year to residents in western Southampton after getting the go ahead from the city council's planning committee.

The centre, which will be built on Shirley High Street, Shirley, Southampton, is one of 36 facilities nationwide designed to provide quick medical attention for those people who currently find visiting their GP in office hours difficult.

No appointments are necessary to turn up at the centres and treatment is available for minor injuries such as strains and sprains, coughs, colds, as well as information on healthy living.

Experienced nurses are available for consultation from 7am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday.

These new centres are designed to free up the time of GPs for them to concentrate on patients who most urgently require assistance.

The Southampton and South West Hampshire Health Authority has declined to comment on the application because of its commercially-sensitive nature. Member of West Test Primary Care Group, councillor Alan Dowden, said: "I am very pleased as we have been trying for such a long time to get a premises as Shirley is central for western Southampton and it runs through a main bus route.

"It will be a great benefit to people who can go there past the normal surgery times and people who are not registered with doctors, even homeless people, will be able to get assistance.

"There will be NHS Direct and social services within it and it will be a comprehensive set up to help people."

A date has yet to be fixed for the opening of the centre