WOOLWICH TWP. Inspira Health Network on Tuesday ceremonially opened a new urgent care center in this Gloucester County town, part of an effort to open a number of such facilities in the area.

The Lexington Road center will, beginning in mid-May, offer immediate service for non-life-threatening medical needs every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is equipped with 10 patient rooms. Inspira, which opened a similar facility in Mullica Hill in 2011, plans to have several more throughout the area in the near future.

The centers meet a demand, said Eileen Cardile, executive vice president of Inspira: People who need medical attention but cannot see their physician immediately, and whose conditions don't necessarily warrant a trip to the emergency room.

"We're very committed to providing community-based care, understanding that everybody is extremely busy and that they want access to quality care in a timely fashion," Cardile said in an interview.

Cardile acknowledged an uptick in urgent care centers in recent years. The Woolwich center joins a number of other area facilities, including Virtua's centers in Sewell and Moorestown and Cooper University Hospital's in Cherry Hill and Audubon, among others.

The Urgent Care Association of America, an industry group, said in a 2011 report that such centers were experiencing a national growth rate of around 300 centers - about 3 percent to 4 percent - per year since 2008. Nearly 70 percent of the centers, it estimates, offer wait times of less than 20 minute.

- Angelo Fichera