Health Minister officially opens new 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week GP-led service

Posted on April 20, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: |

Assura | Press Release | NHS Bath and North East Somerset (NHS B&NES) | 20 April 2009

Minister of State for Health, Ben Bradshaw MP has officially opened the Bath NHS Healthcare Centre on James Street West, central Bath, which is the first of 10 new GP-led health centres to be provided by Assura’s GP Provider Companies (GPCos).

The Minister was joined by Dr Andrew Smith, GP and chair of Assura Minerva and Malcolm Hanney, chair of NHS Bath and North East Somerset (NHS B&NES), as well as staff as he officially opened the new service.

Speaking at the event, Ben Bradshaw MP congratulated the Centre for being the first in the region to open.

He said: “We were getting feedback from the public who, having seen improvements with waiting times, wanted to see a difference in primary care. After three weeks, to see such a big increase in footfall shows that the demand is there.

“We know a lot of people go to A&E on weekends when GP surgeries are usually closed. Now they have a GP service to go to, it will help take the pressure off A&E.”

Bath NHS Healthcare Centre is one of three new GP-led health centres run by Assura GPCos to welcome its first patients this month. It was opened as a result of contracts awarded in the national Equitable Access to Primary Medical Care services (EAPMC) procurement programme.

The schemes are part of the government’s £250 million nationwide funding package to improve access to GP services for patients across the country. This funding will provide an extra 2.5 million appointments across the country per year.

Located at the existing Riverside Health Centre, Bath NHS Healthcare Centre is open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year and is operated by Assura Minerva LLP in partnership with Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Health and Social Care Services and BANES Emergency Medical Services.

The service has quickly proved popular with patients, with higher than expected demand for walk-in treatments since opening. Patients can visit the Centre with or without an appointment and do not have to be registered to be seen.

The aim of the service is to provide local people with greater choice and increased rapid access to treatment which doesn’t require A&E attendance, which will help to alleviate pressure on the Royal United Hospital’s A&E department.

It is in addition to and complements existing GP surgeries and all services that were previously available at the Riverside Health Centre continue to operate. These include the Riverside GP Surgery, emergency dental services, contraceptive and sexual health services. The nurse led walk-in centre has been incorporated into the new GP-led service.

Some of the services now on offer include blood pressure checks, contraceptive advice, health promotion, minor cuts and wound management, muscle and joint injury attention and help with stomach and skin complaints.

Commenting on the official opening, Dr Andrew Smith, a Bath GP and chairman of Assura Minerva said: “We are delighted to welcome the Minister to open the new Bath NHS Healthcare Centre, and meet the staff who have worked so hard to start this new service.

“It’s still early days but numbers are up 26% on what they were previously. People are voting with their feet. The people working in the Centre are the people to thank today; they have done a fantastic job in getting the Centre open and the new service started.”

Malcolm Hanney, chair of NHS B&NES, said: “Open from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening is giving patients greater access to GP services. I am very pleased that the 27 BANES practices in partnership with Assura, a leading healthcare provider, won the open tender process.”

Coventry NHS Healthcare and Walk-in Centre (Assura Coventry LLP) and Stockton NHS Healthcare Centre opened earlier this month (Assura Stockton LLP). The remaining seven schemes awarded to Assura’s GPCos will be rolled out during the remainder of 2009, with the next GPCo due to open in Hartlepool in May.


Press enquiries regarding Assura Group to:

Andrew McKeon, AJM Public Relations.
Tel: 01423 734 560; Mobile: 07802 484 155

Louise Bathersby, Assura Group.
Tel: 020 7107 3830


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