DOVER — Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is planning to build an urgent care facility on Dover Point Road, about 2.5 miles from its urgent care facility on Central Avenue.
The 4,500-square-foot Express Care location is proposed to be built on property now owned by Weathervane Restaurant. The estimated $1.5 million project would be built on an existing parking lot, according to plans submitted to the Dover Planning Department. The facility would employ about 10 people per shift, according to the plans.
The Planning Board’s Technical Review Committee is scheduled to begin WDH’s application process with a meeting later this month.
WDH spokesperson Dawn Fernald said the hospital has signed a purchase-and-sales agreement for the parcel. She noted the new facility would be modeled after the other WDH Express Care locations, one at 701 Central Ave. in Dover and another at the Lee roundabout. Fernald said both existing locations “are highly successful –from both an operational and a patient experience standpoint.”
While WDH operates an urgent care a short drive away from the proposed new location, Fernald said there is still a demand to meet.
“We know patients are still visiting emergency rooms for care that can be treated at a lower cost facility, such as Express Care,” she said. “We are looking to add another location where our community can get quick, expert care at a convenient location that is a lower cost alternative to an emergency room.”
WDH’s urgent care facility would be built less than a mile from the newly opened Dover Emergency Room, operated by Portsmouth Regional Hospital, a competitor of WDH in the local health-care market. Wentworth-Douglass also recently opened a primary care facility at the Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth.
The Dover Emergency Room opened to fanfare this spring, with PRH’s CEO Dean Carucci telling the community why it built an emergency room on the other side of town as WDH. “We strongly believe in a patient’s ability to stay in the community in which they live for advanced care,” Carucci told the crowd. “We chose this site, and we chose this point because we believe that patients deserve access and this was our chance to provide that north of Portsmouth.”
The same week the emergency room opened, WDH, which is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital, stepped up its marketing campaign around its own emergency room. One advertisement included the words, “When emergency strikes ... ‘Take me to Wentworth-Douglass.’”