Provider chosen for new GP Led Health Centre and Walk in service

Posted on January 20, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases | Tags: , |

NHS Lewisham

NHS Lewisham (Lewisham Primary Care Trust) is delighted to announce that the Hurley Group has been selected as the preferred provider to deliver primary care services for the new GP Led Health Centre and Walk in service at the Waldron Health centre, Amersham Vale, SE14 6LD.

The Hurley Group have an excellent track record in delivering high quality GP led, patient centred healthcare for the NHS. They currently run one of the first GP led Walk in Centres that opened in London, based at the Lister Health Centre in Southwark and have successfully delivered services in a number of challenging South London environments.

Situated directly opposite New Cross railway station just off New Cross Road, the GP led Health Centre will deliver services to patients whether they are registered or non-registered (walk in) at the Centre.

The new service will improve access to healthcare in the area, offering extended opening hours and access to a GP between 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. It will offer bookable and non-bookable (open access or walk-in) appointments. The new service is expected to open in March 2010, when the existing nurse led walk-in centre at Goodwood Road moves to the purpose built primary care centre at the Waldron and services transfer.

The additional enhanced service offered by the GP led Health Centre complements the existing services provided by the 4 Doctors surgeries currently in the Waldron Health Centre. This will improve access to local people, walk-in patients and commuters. The Waldron Health Centre already houses a wide range of services under one roof including midwives, phlebotomy, foot health clinics, sexual and reproductive health, speech & language therapy, and services such as child health clinics. Pharmacy and optician services will also be provided in the near future.

The Health Centre and Walk in service development is part a national programme for Equitable Access, supported by the Department of Health, in response to public consultations (where access was a significant issue for a large number of patients). In addition NHS Lewisham have broader plans to develop the Waldron Health Centre by providing a range of services often associated more closely with hospital care. This is part of their drive to deliver care closer to home, improve health and well being and reduce health inequalities.

The Hurley Group is delighted to have been awarded preferred provider status. Dr Mark Ashworth, Organisational Medical Director, said:

“This represents a milestone for the Hurley group – we can combine our clinical knowledge, with our experience of delivering high quality care, in a state of the art purpose built facility. We are extremely pleased to have been selected to run the GP Led Health Centre in Lewisham especially as this is an area where we feel we can contribute to the wider local community.”

Who to contact about this article
Name: Matt Adcock
Telephone: 020 7206 3333
Fax: 020 7206 3338
Organisation: NHS Lewisham
Address: Cantilever House, SE12 8RN

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Brand new health centre opens its doors to first patient

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: LIFT, Press/News Releases | Tags: |

NHS Southampton City | News release | 12 January 2010

The brand new Adelaide Health Centre in the west of Southampton, which will provide the people of Southampton with easy access to a range of NHS services in one convenient location, saw its first patient walk through the doors today (Tuesday 12 January 2010).

Southampton Community Healthcare facilitated moving a number of services into the purpose-built health centre in Millbrook including:

  • Podiatry
  • Cardiac
  • Leg Ulcer
  • Physiotherapy
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Community Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Health Visiting
  • Long-term conditions

8am to 8pm, 7 days a week

The Health Centre also houses the new Adelaide GP Surgery which is open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week (excluding bank holidays) and offers registered patients GP appointments every day as well as a walk-in service.

The design and building of the Adelaide Health Centre was co-ordinated by South West Hampshire Local Improvement Finance Trust (SWHL) with the aim of delivering better access to extended services from better buildings and closer to home. With this objective in mind, Adelaide Health Centre is conveniently located on the Western Community Hospital campus in Millbrook, with disabled access and patient parking available on site.

The centre’s first patient John Merry arrived promptly at 8.15am this morning to register as a patient with the Adelaide GP Surgery.


He said: ‘The Adelaide Health Centre looks like a very nice building and I love the coffee bar. I’m about a mile and a half away so it’s quite convenient. The extended hours are useful and it’s possible I may make use of them to fit in with hospital appointments.”

Joint Managing Director of Southampton Community Healthcare, Dave Meehan, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide the people of Southampton with easily accessible NHS services with extended opening hours in a convenient location. The Adelaide Health Centre provides staff with a modern, spacious environment in which they can continue to deliver an excellent level of care to patients. Patients can enjoy the new building and its convenient location on the Western Community Hospital Campus. The multiple services under one roof are ideal for patients who require a wide-range of healthcare treatments and there is the added bonus of a GP surgery too.”

Chief Executive of NHS Southampton City, Bob Deans, said: “The new Adelaide Health Centre is an exciting new state-of-the-art building for patients and home to a wide range of NHS services. This one-stop-shop feature will mean that those patients who require a wide-range of healthcare treatments will be able to receive excellent care in one, easy to access location. NHS Southampton City is committed to ensuring that healthcare in Southampton meets the real needs of our people, and the opening of the Adelaide Health Centre is a key development in improving the health of patients and the City as a whole.”


Notes for Editors:

  • Attached with this press release is an image of the Adelaide Health Centre’s first patient with staff from the Adelaide GP Surgery.
  • NHS Southampton City is responsible for investing in health and care services to effectively meet the needs of the City’s population. For more information, please go to NHS Southampton City now has a Twitter page – sign up today for the latest information at
  • The Adelaide Health Centre was built under the Government’s Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) scheme by South West Hampshire LIFT Limited, a public private partnership which is owned by NHS Southampton City, NHS Hampshire, Community Health Partnerships and a consortium of companies led by leading health provider Assura. LIFT is a Government vehicle for improving and developing frontline primary and community care facilities. It allows PCTs to invest in new premises in new locations, not merely reproduce existing types of services. It provides patients with modern, integrated health services in high quality, fit for purpose primary care premises. South West Hampshire LIFT Limited is the LIFT Co for the South West Hampshire LIFT area. It is a public private partnership made up of the following constituents: Hampshire and Southampton City PCTs (20%), Community Health Partnerships (Department of Health: 20%) and a private sector consortium (Assura 54%, Geoffrey Osbourne 6%). Please visit the website at:
  • An official opening of the Adelaide Health Centre will take place later this year at which point a press release will be sent to the media.
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Walk-in Centres vs GP-led Health Centres

Posted on January 5, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres | Tags: , |

Department of Health | accessed 5 January 2010

Walk-in Centres

NHS Walk-in Centres (WiCs) are predominantly nurse-led first contact services which offer access to treatment and advice without requiring patients to register or make an appointment. NHS WiCs deal with illnesses and injuries – including infections and rashes, fractures and lacerations, emergency contraception and advice, stomach upsets, cuts and bruises, or minor burns and strains – without an appointment. They are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems. Some NHS WiCs offer access to doctors as well as nurses. They are complementary to traditional GP practices, out-of-hours and A&E services.

Most NHS WiCs are open 365 days a year from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm Saturday and Sunday. Some are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hours vary to meet local circumstances.

The first WiC opened in January 2000 and there are now over 90 in England, seeing nearly three million patients per year.

GP health centres

The NHS Next Stage Review Interim Report, Our NHS, Our Future (October 2007) gave a commitment to establish over 100 new GP practices in areas where they are most needed, and 150 GP-led health centres.

Following the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Secretary of State for Health announced on 10 October a £250 million access fund to support delivery of new GP services.

The Operating Framework for 2008-09 set a national priority for all PCTs to complete procurements based on open and transparent tenders for new GP-led health centres, and those PCTs identified as having the greatest health need to procure new GP practices.

The Operating Framework for 2009-10 asked PCTs to ensure that there is timely implementation of these new services, including effective communications with the public, so that patients can benefit as soon as possible from improved access and choice. Most services will open to patients in 2009.

Each health centre will be open from 8am until 8pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It will offer bookable appointments and walk-in services for any member of the public; patients can attend the service, either by appointment or on a walk-in basis, while remaining registered elsewhere, or they may choose to register at a centre if it is more convenient than their existing practice.

The first GP health centre was opened by Alan Johnson in Bradford on 1 November 2008; services open are proving popular with the public especially on weekends when traditionally GP practices are closed.

The 152 new GP health centres will more than double the number of walk-in services available in England and deliver more than 2.5 million new GP appointments each year, together with many more appointments with nurses and other staff, and provide more choice and flexibility for patients in how and when they access care.

The 112 practices are being procured in those areas of the country with fewest GPs and greatest health needs, providing more capacity in primary care, and more choice for patients in the most deprived areas of where and when they can access GP services. The PCTs were identified using a balanced range of indicators of local health need and deprivation.

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Mersey View Surgery & GP Led Walk-in Service

Posted on January 4, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Press/News Releases, Providers | Tags: , |

Care UK | accessed 4 January 2010


Mersey View Surgery & GP Led Walk-in Service is a facility commissioned by NHS Liverpool Primary Care Trust. The centre, operated by Care UK, a leading independent provider of health and social care services, is located within Everton Road Health Centre, 45 Everton Road, Liverpool.

The centre is open every day from 8am-8pm and offers a range of comprehensive services to registered patients and a walk-in service for the treatment of minor injuries and illnesses, without having to make an appointment.

Mersey View Surgery & GP Led Walk-in Service
45 Everton Road, L6 2EH.

Manager: Sue Hagan
Telephone: 0151 300 8232
Fax: 0151 263 7006

View Website

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Number of patients in GP-led health centres and walk-in centres, walk-in activity, funding per patient

Posted on January 4, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, Reports/papers | Tags: |

NHS Calderdale | Disclosure Log Item | FOI request 09/148 | accessed 4 January 2010

You asked for the information related to GP-led health centres, walk-in activity and funding. In response to your request, please find details below.

The number of patients on the registered list of all GP-led health centres and new practices that have been procured by the PCT under the Equitable Access to Primary Medical Care initiative, and the number of patients on the registered list of any walk-in centres in the PCT.

  • NHS Calderdale does not have any walk in centres. However we have two GP Led walk in services which are also Equitable Access practices. The number of patients on the list is as follows:
  1. Calder Community Practice 1645
  2. Park Community Practice 146

The level of walk-in activity at the GP-let health centres and any walk-in centre in the PCT, measured on a monthly basis if this is available

  • NHS Calderdale does not at this stage have monthly figures relating to activity.

The figure for the funding to each GP-led health centre and any walk-in centre in terms of pounds per patient registered in that centre

  • We are unable to give a pound per patient as the NHS Calderdale is still in a live procurement for the scheme.
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Hemlington GP practice opens to mark end of £11m project

Posted on January 4, 2010. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Gazette Live | by Sarah Judd, Evening Gazette | 4 January 2010

A NEW walk-in GP practice has opened in Hemlington, marking the completion of an £11m boost to primary care services on Teesside.

NHS Tees approved plans to open six new GP surgeries and four GP-led health centres in August 2008 to help tackle some of the area’s more serious health problems.

And staff are now celebrating as the last of the new facilities opened its doors.

Chris Willis, chief executive of NHS Tees said: “We are delighted to see the last of these new practices open its doors.

“These recent initiatives show our commitment to improve patients’ access to local health services in areas where they are most needed.

“This £11m investment is a tremendous boost for primary care provision, improving access to GP services right across the Tees area.”

Hemlington NHS Medical Centre is currently housed in temporary premises adjacent to the Viewley Centre and is open from 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.

A permanent base for the centre is planned within the refurbished Viewley Centre which is expected to reopen in April.

The £11m investment in primary care across the NHS Tees area has seen the opening of Stockton NHS Health Centre in High Newham Road, Eston Grange NHS Health Care Centre in Queen Street, South Bank and the Resolution Health Centre in Trinity Mews, North Ormesby.

Hartlepool NHS Healthcare Centre in Victoria Road, Hartlepool has also opened as part of the investment.

Each centre is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and anyone can walk-in for treatment without an appointment even if they are not registered as a patient.

The Eston facility will be relocated in 2010 to the new Low Grange Farm medical facility currently being constructed on Normanby Road, South Bank.

New GP practices have also been opened in Skelton, Redcar, Hemlington, Park End in Middlesbrough, The Fens in Hartlepool and Hartfields Extra Care Village in Hartlepool.

Services at the new Hemlington practice are being provided by Bondcare and prospective patients are asked to call 01642 514350 to register.

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Health bosses hit back at Norwich walk-in centre claims

Posted on December 22, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Norwich Evening News | Sarah Hall | 22 December 2009

Health bosses have hit back at claims that the new walk-in centre in Norwich city centre has not met expectations.

As reported in the Evening News on Saturday, concerns have been raised that the Timber Hill Health Centre is not seeing as many patients as the walk in centre in Dussindale, Thorpe St Andrew, it controversially replaced.

Last month just over 4,000 people visited the new walk-in centre, which opened in August.

Dr Bryan Heap, NHS Norfolk’s medical director, said: “We envisaged about 15,000 ‘walk-in’ patients would have used the centre by now. In fact it has seen about 17,000 patients.”

He said from April 2007 to April 2008 there were 42,436 patient contacts at the Dussindale centre. If the Timber Hill Health Centre continues to attract 17,000 patients per quarter, it would have had about 68,000 contacts, he said.

Dr Heap added: “It is not ‘failing to deliver;. It is doing precisely what we envisaged it would. It has increased the number of walk-in patients seen at the former walk-in centre at Dussindale; it has provided GP and primary care to people who are traditionally harder to reach and it has ensured more equal access to health care for the people of Norwich and the surrounding area.

“The success of Timber Hill Health Centre cannot just be judged by attendance figures alone. Timber Hill Health Centre was established to provide equitable access to healthcare. Importantly, there are now more people attending from the target postcode areas NR1 and NR3 than Dussindale. These areas contain more deprived households than other areas.”

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Concerns over new health centre

Posted on December 19, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: , |

Norwich Evening News | By Sarah Hall | 19 December 2009

Concerns are being raised that the city’s new GP-led centre is not meeting patient expectations, with the number of people who use it falling despite winter being a time when demand on health services would normally rise.

New figures reveal the much-touted Timber Hill Health Centre in The Mall Norwich has been visited by fewer patients than the smaller nurse-led centre in Dussindale it controversially replaced.

Last month, just over 4,000 patients visited the centre, but at its peak the walk-in centre in Pound Lane saw more than 5,000 patients – and that provided fewer services and never had a GP present. And rising A&E attendances in the past few months prove the centre is not helping to alleviate pressure on other health services – something it was designed to do.

While health bosses are insisting the centre is doing well and “meeting expectations”, health campaigners say the new figures realise their worst fears.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, pictured, said: “This centre offers a lot more than the nurse-led walk-in centre and yet there are not as many patients using it. At this time of the year you would think there would be more patients visiting than ever.

“A lot of people were against it opening here and maybe now they are being proved right because it just doesn’t seem that popular. I think the main problem is parking and the fact

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NHS Herefordshire launches new walk-in GP centre

Posted on December 17, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , , |

Hereford Times | NHS Herefordshire | 17 December 2009

PEOPLE feeling under the weather can now walk into a new health centre without an appointment to see a GP or nurse in Hereford.

NHS Herefordshire launched the new service, available seven days a week between 8am and 8pm, next to the ASDA store on Monday.

“When we consulted the public, there was strong support for a walkin health centre, which will supplement the excellent service already provided by GPs in the county,” said Chris Bull, chief executive of NHS Herefordshire and Herefordshire Council The centre will open over the festive period and patients can use the service while remaining registered with their own GP.

The phone number for the new service is 0330 123 9309 – the same as the current number to call a GP out of hours.

The centre is being run for NHS Herefordshire by Primecare and is temporary until a permanent walk-in health centre is built next year.

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Changes in service delivery

Posted on December 15, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

NHS Networks | Networks Talk | Walk-in services | accessed 15 December 2009

Philip Shaba (7 Nov 09)

I hope i am commenting in the right column as I am new to the net work. I am a Nurse Practitioner currently working in that capacity in a Walk-in-Centre. Since we opened our doors to the public, we have seen some changes which need to be discussed. There is a growing number of patients who are presenting with serious illnesses than predetermined by the original policy that Walk-in-Centres could only see Minor illness and injury.An example is that patients presenting with chest pain has gone up. Due to the nature of our service of ‘walk-in’ patients assume that we can treat them but in effect they are delaying treatment.Another change is the increase in the number of patients who are unable to get a GP appointment or are encouraged to attend the Walk-in-centre by GP surgeries.

These are just a few examples, but there are more changes in the dynamics of Walk-in-centres that need an evaluatiion since we are about to celebrate 10 years. I feel as if our centre is operating like a mini A&E dept. Does anyone share my views?

Tony Mayled (14 Nov 09)

Hi: like you I am new to the forum and work in a walk in centre in St Helens Merseyside ; which we see approx 200 pts per day on average. Llike yourself we see pts with potential life threatening presentations chest pain being one of them. While the response rate for ambulance transfer to A&E is good, the question you pose is a valid one. I feel, that however much you educate people i.e go to A&E/999 if you have chest pain! there will always be a proportion of people who attend a WIC as they see it either as an A&E or “dont want to bother A&E” or just prefer the care we give!!
We too have people always turning up stating they cannot get appointments at their GP’s -interestingly more often than not when you telphone the GP surgery they seem to be able to provide the pt with an appointment ( often then on informing the pt this bit of info they admit that the time offered was not convenient to them!)

I do wonder that we as nurses working in WIC’s are often victims of our own success and a patient would rather come to the WIC and know they will get seen (and no direspect to many excellent GP’s out there) but pts as we all know too well prefer the consulation process that nurses have adopted in the advanced sphere they work in-something to be proud of, I think which should be embraced.

Philip Shaba (14 Nov 09)

Thanks Tony. Can we have feedback from other WiCs about this issue. The last evaluation was done 2002 (national Evaluation) Is it time we perhaps have another evaluation as I am sure there are some significant changes that might change future policy on walk-in-centres.WhatI would like is representatives from WIC nationally to move this debate forward.

Tony Mayled (19 Nov 09)

Hi Philip
I agree that an evaluation is timely, and lets here from other WIC’s on this viewpoint

Etheldreda Kong1 (17 Nov 09)

Hi all,
Our GP Led Health Centre’s walk in service sees about 100 patients a day. a good percentage of cases are from unregistered patients with minor ailments and at times with conditions acute or not well controlled. Hence they can present with chest pain, cuts, lacerations etc. We see a good number of patients who come for wound dressings. There is a substantial proportion of patients who use the walk in as extension of their practices ie when they cannot get an appintment with their GPs or their practices are closed,
We have a protocol with the local ambulance service on types of patients we see and treat so they can help us to communicate the message to the public.
I am glad for this forum, as it gives us a space to network especially now-admist the publicity of Darzi’s centres in the press regarding the cost effectiveness and value of such centres.
These centres are performance managed and their re-imbursementd are performance dependent, hence I find the KPIs attached to these centres are quite difficult to achieve.
I do believe we are doing a good job as there is a need for our centres. We are part of the patient’s pathway and here to stay: Practices/GP Led Health Centres with walk ins/Urgent Care Dentres/A&E/intermediate care/outpatients/in patient hospital care.
I am interested to know for colleagues what skill mix you have to serve your walk in.

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NHS walk-in centres Christmas opening times

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories | Tags: |

Chronicle Live | By Helen Rae, Evening Chronicle | 14 December 2009

HEALTH Reporter Helen Rae takes a look at festive season opening hours for walk-in health centres across the North East.

MEMBERS of the public are being reminded they can access walk-in centres and minor injury units throughout the region during the festive season.

No appointments are needed – you can walk in to use any of the services.

Walk-in centres are available for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries without an appointment for all patients except children under two years old.

Anyone needing treat-ment for under twos can use walk-in services in GP-led health centres.

Dennis Wilkinson, nurse practitioner at Newcastle Central Walk-In Centre at St James’ Gate, said: “People like the flexibility of coming here as there is no appointment needed so we see tourists and people who work here as well.

“We treat minor injuries and illnesses such as colds, coughs, ear problems, sexual health including emergency contraception, sprains, scrapes and bumps.

“Our opening hours are 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday although other walk-in centres are open on weekends too.”

Locations and opening times:


Molineux Street Walk-In Centre, Molineux Street, Byker. Telephone: 0191 275 5862. Open 8am to 10pm, seven days a week including bank holidays.

Ponteland Road Walk-In Service based at Ponteland Road GP-led Health Centre, 169 Ponteland Road, Newcastle, open 8am to 8pm every day. Telephone: 0191 271 9030 or visit

Westgate Walk-In Centre, Westgate Road, Newcastle (next to A&E at Newcastle General Hospital) Telephone: 0191 256 3163. Open 8am to 10pm, seven days a week including bank holidays.

Newcastle Central NHS Walk-in Centre, Unit 5, The Bar, St James’ Gate (near Jurys Inn). Telephone: 0191 233 3760. Open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday. The centre is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the Christmas weekend, Bank Holiday Monday and New Year’s Day.

Royal Victoria Infirmary Minor Injuries Unit, Richardson Road. Open 8am to 4pm, seven days a week, telephone 0191 282 0531. The unit is closed from Christmas Day and will reopen on January 2, 2010.

North Tyneside

Battle Hill Health Centre Walk in Service based in Battle Hill GP led Health Centre, Belmont Close, Wallsend. Open 8am to 8pm every day. Telephone 0191 295 8520

Minor Injuries Clinic, Shiremoor Health Resource Centre, Earsdon Road, Shiremoor. Open Monday to Friday 10am to 5.45pm, not including bank holidays. For enquiries contact 0191 253 6966.The centre is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the Christmas weekend, Bank Holiday Monday and New Year’s Day.


Alnwick Infirmary Minor Injuries Unit. Telephone: 08448 118111 and ask for Alnwick Minor injuries. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Berwick Infirmary Minor Injuries Unit. Telephone: 08448 118111 and ask for Berwick Minor Injuries. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Blyth Community Hospital Minor Injuries Unit. Telephone: 08448 118111 and ask for Blyth Minor Injuries open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. The unit is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the Christmas weekend, Bank Holiday Monday and New Year’s Day.

Haltwhistle War Memorial Hospital Minor Injuries Unit: 01434 320225 and ask for Haltwhistle Minor Injuries Unit. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Wansbeck Primary Care Access Centre, based next to A&E at Wansbeck General Hospital site. Open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6.30pm but closed on bank holidays. Please call ahead to make an appointment on 01670 529205.The centre is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the Christmas weekend, Bank Holiday Monday and New Year’s Day.

Out of hours and urgent dental treatment – you can contact the out-of-hours dental service on 0845 608 0324. If you do not have a dentist or are experiencing problems accessing treatment, ring NHS Direct for advice.

Urgent GP appointments are available for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions for more significant illnesses or a chronic condition.

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Walk-in centres near stations ‘unpopular and expensive’

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Healthcare Republic | Sanjay Tanday | 14 December 2009

Walk-in centres near train stations are not popular with commuters and expensive to run, according to a DoH-funded pilot study.

Pilot walk-in centres for commuters proved to be expensive and had low attendance (Photograph: SPL)

Six walk-in centres, run by independent providers, were set up between 2005 and 2007 to provide health care to commuters.

The average number of patients attending each centre on days when a patient user survey was undertaken was between 33 and 101 per day. This was considerably lower than the anticipated capacity of 150-180 patients a day.

The estimated cost per attendance for the centres was between £52 and £150, according to results published in the BJGP.

The researchers, led by Dr Alica O’Cathain, from the University of Sheffield, concluded: ‘Pilot walk-in centres placed near train centres for commuters had low activity levels and high costs.

‘A policy of placing healthcare centres in areas of high worker density may be more successful.’

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Walk-in centre contracts under review after study exposes high cost-per-patient

Posted on December 7, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Pulse | By Lilian Anekwe | 7 December 2009

PCTs across the country are considering the future of their walk-in centres, after research showed they are failing to attract patients and costing hugely more than GP services.

A Department of Health-funded evaluation found some centres in urban areas with populations of millions were seeing as few as 30 patients a day – only around a sixth of projected capacity.

The study focused on commuter walk-in centres in railway stations, but the authors said the findings raised huge question marks about the viability of all 82 of England’s centres.

And Pulse has learned a series of PCTs in pilot areas for railway walk-in centres are holding talks about whether the contracts should be renewed when they expire in the next few months.

The research found on average between 33 and 101 patients a day attended each centre ‘considerably lower than the planned capacity of 150-180′.

If the centres had operated at planned capacity, cost per attendance would have been £13, but it was actually as much as £62 in some centres.

The researchers said this was nearly eight times higher than the £8 per attendance to be seen by a practice nurse for a minor ailment, and more than twice the £30 per attendance with a GP or £35 per attendance at a ‘non-24-hour emergency department’.

The DH launched pilots of six commuter walk-in centres in 2004, awarding five-year contracts to private providers to open three centres in London, and one each at Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle stations. The researchers estimated a total cost to date of £5.6m – ‘a very high price per patient’.

A DH spokesperson insisted the centres provided a ‘valuable service’.

But a spokesperson for NHS Leeds said it was ‘exploring options’ and would make a decision on whether to renew the contract by November 2010.

NHS Tower Hamlets said the contract for its centre in Canary Wharf was ‘being reviewed as part of our Urgent care strategy’.

A spokesperson for NHS Westminster said its contract was also under review.

Study leader Dr Alicia O’Cathain, senior research fellow at the School of Health and Related Research in Sheffield, questioned ‘whether commuter walk-in centres are the most cost-effective way of increasing access for minor illness’.

Professor Chris Salisbury, who exposed the huge growth in walk-in capacity during his week as guest editor of Pulse last year, was also a researcher on the study.

Professor Salisbury, professor of primary care at the University of Bristol and a GP in the city, said: ‘The DH has to decide whether to encourage continuity of care or, if it wants walk-in centres, it needs to know it has implications for A&E attendance and will waste resources.’

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Blackpool gets ‘Darzi’ style PACS

Posted on December 7, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Polyclinics | Tags: , |

E-Health Europe | NHS Blackpool | 7 December 2009

NHS Blackpool has implemented a new Agfa PACS system that enable staff working at the town’s state of the art new polyclinic to access and share diagnostic image records with staff at the local hospital trust.

Implemented as an extension of Blackpool, Flyde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s existing Agfa Impax PACS, the new system will allow authorised staff working in primary care, community and acute care settings to far more easily share diagnostic image records with health professionals from.

As a result primary and secondary care imaging is now available within both sectors, providing clinicians to easy access to a patient’s entire diagnostic imaging records, no matter where they are working.

Whitegate Health Centre is a new Darzi-style polyclinic in central Blackpool has become the first to benefit from the new system. The £20m health centre was opened by Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham last month.

The centre has been fitted with a range of hi-tech diagnostic tools, including one of only a few MRI scanners in a primary care centre in the country, as well as ultrasound suites and a state-of-the-art X-ray facility which delivers a detailed image within ten seconds.

The new health centre, which was commissioned by NHS Blackpool, also houses a GP Practice, a GP-led health centre, a walk-in centre, dental services and diagnostics.

To enable seamless sharing of diagnostic images the centre has been equipped with Agfa Healthcare’s Impax picture archiving and communications system (PACS), implemented as an extension to the hospital trust’s existing PACS, first installed in 2001. The new deployment includes an additional workflow manager, image storage and a diagnostic reporting workstation.

Images needed by staff working at the Whitegate Health Centre are stored onto a SAN server located in the health centre and then copied to long-term storage and web servers that form part of the acute trust’s PACS.

Because the images are stored within the hospital’s PACS system they are then available for viewing at any of the six sites covered by the trust, where they can be accessed by using any one of the 26 diagnostic workstations or 4,500 networked PCs within the hospital trust and NHS Blackpool.

Richard Day, PACS manager at NHS Blackpool, said, “We are looking forward to providing the best possible imaging service for patients and welcome the opportunity to extend our PACS into the primary care sector.”

Day added: “In addition to giving authorised healthcare professionals working in the new Whitegate Health Centre access to stored images , we could also look to extend this to any other GP surgeries or health centres should they request it.”

Stewart Whitely, radiology advisor at the Whitegate Health Centre, added: “We are delighted with the new PACS system that Agfa Healthcare has installed within the unit. It has significantly increased the entire local area’s capacity and it will help reduce the strain on Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital and allow NHS Blackpool to develop new pathways.”

Jon Hoeksma

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Doors open for area’s walk-in health centre

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Middleton Guardian | NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale | 3 December 2009

A REVOLUTIONARY health centre has opened its doors in Middleton and promises to provide a unique service for residents.

Located on the first floor of Middleton Shopping Centre, Middleton Health Centre is the only place in the borough where people can walk in and see a doctor with or without an appointment.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale have provided the funding for the project following an in-depth consultation with residents on what services they would prefer in the town and extra provisions for children and families came top of the list.

The vibrant, spacious and colourful centre is fully equipped with the latest medical equipment and includes features such as a conference room for staff training and a dedicated area in the waiting room for breastfeeding.

Practice Manager Vicky Matthews said: “We’ve had a large amount of interest already with people looking through the windows and asking when we’re opening. I’ve lived in Middleton all of my life and think the health centre is just what the town needs and has wanted for some time.”

The centre has three main treatment rooms and five consultancy rooms and a 20-strong team of dedicated staff will be available, and there will be more potential to generate further jobs in the future.

With the recent closure of Booth Hall Children’s Hospital and with it the Accident and Emergency department, the new centre will provide vital urgent care for children and the centre will open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Laura Neilson, Chief Executive of Hope Citadel Healthcare, the company which provides services at the centre, said: “As well as providing all of the usual GP services like appointments, prescriptions and tests, we will have a focus on services that will support children and families.”

The NHS’ plan was to bring more doctors to Middleton to places where they are needed the most and the location of the centre, in the heart of the town, makes it extremely accessible for residents.

John Pierce, chairman of NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, said: “The Middleton Health Centre helps people to see a doctor when they need to and will hopefully decrease the number of patients who go to A and E when they don’t have to.”

It has been a long two-year process from planning and consultation and now staff are excited and ready to open the health facility to patients.

Chair of the Middleton Township Peter Williams said: “The health centre is absolutely fantastic for Middleton. I am really impressed with the quality of the premises and the range of services that are on offer and it will help more people to see a doctor when they need to.”

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5,000 people call in to new health centre

Posted on December 2, 2009. Filed under: News stories, Providers | Tags: , |

Worcester News | David Paine | NHS Worcestershire | 2 December 2009

NEARLY 5,000 people have used a new walk-in health centre in Worcester since it opened in the summer.

There are also about 500 people registered at the centre in Farrier House, Farrier Street.

Paul Bates, chief executive of NHS Worcestershire, said a real cross-section of people were using the facilities and said the feedback had been good so far.

“The reports coming back from the public have been glowing,” he told a county health overview and scrutiny committee.

“The service is not under pressure yet, so it can provide a very good service.

“It’s pretty much the same experience across the country with walk-in centres. They are not taking people away from other surgeries and we are discovering a whole new cohort of presentations.”

Mr Bates said he visited the centre recently and saw a young mother, young men, an elderly man and a homeless man all in the waiting room.

We previously reported in your Worcester News how the new walk-in centre, which opened in August, is designed to improve access to healthcare in the city centre without patients having to book an appointment.

NHS Worcestershire – the organisation that manages the work of doctors, dentists and community hospitals – will pay GPs £1 million a year to run the service.

The organisation previously paid £750,000 for the building and refurbishment work for the new surgery, which is on the ground floor.

That money includes the cost of work to prepare the first floor to host future services, including sexual health workers, physiotherapy and dental care.

The centre means anyone can access GP appointments without having to be registered. The centre is run by Elgar Healthcare – a consortium of local GPs – who were announced as NHS Worcestershire’s preferred bidder in December 2008.

As well as providing all the usual GP services for Worcestershire people, the centre is also focusing on improving access to those who tend to access services poorly.

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Privately-run walk-in centres ‘less cost effective’, study finds

Posted on December 1, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: , |

Pulse | By Lilian Anekwe | 1 December 2009

Walk-in centres could deliver better value for money if they are provided by the NHS instead of private contractors, primary care researchers have concluded.

An evaluation of six pilot walk-in centres located in commuter train stations concluded that offering contracts to deliver these services to private providers commits the health service to an expensive contract ‘that can lead to a very high price per patient’.

Train station walk-in centres were launched by the Department of Health in 2004 as part of a £50million change to primary care services, with seven being funded for five years.

Researchers evaluated six of the seven on performance in a number of indicators between 2005 and 2007.

The average number of patients attending each centres was between 33 and 101 per day, which researchers said was ‘considerably lower than the planned capacity of 150-180′.

The estimated cost to the NHS of providing a private walk-in centre for the 5-year period was £3m for London based services and £2.6m for out of London services.

If the centres operated at their planned capacity, the cost per attendance would be £13. But based on actual daily attendance, cost per attendance varied by centre from £21 to £62.

Lead researcher Dr Alicia O’Cathain, senior research fellow at the school of health and related research at the University of Sheffield, questioned ‘whether commuter walk-in centres are the most cost-effective way of increasing access to care for minor illness in a working population.’

The research was published in the December issue of the British Journal of General Practice, along with an editorial written by the high-profile health policy researcher Professor Allyson Pollock.

In her editorial Professor Pollock, professor of international public health policy at the University of Edinburgh, launched a scathing attack on the Government policy on privately provided walk in centres, which she said provide nothing more than ‘instant gratification for the walking well’.

‘The question is: what [are] the opportunity costs for the NHS, patients, staff, and citizens of paying too much for these private-sector white elephants? How many services have been cut to pay for care? How much care have older people, the frail, or chronically sick had to forego to satisfy the whims and needs of the walking well?’

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Anger over closure of south Bristol walk-in health centre

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: |

Bristol Evening Post | NHS Bristol | 25 November 2009

People in south Bristol are angry that a walk-in health centre in Knowle West is to close.

The flagship centre at Knowle West Health Park was one of the first in the country when it opened in September 2000.

Local people were involved in the design of the health park and were delighted that they could be treated for minor ailments and injuries in the evenings and at weekends.

But NHS Bristol says the walk-in centre will close once the new South Bristol Community Hospital is built in Hengrove Park and there will be a walk-in clinic there instead.

Statistics show that people living in Knowle West have poorer health than the rest of the city – life expectancy is, on average, 10 years less than in other areas.

Users of the health park say the walk-in centre at the community hospital should be “as well as, not instead of” the one in Downton Road.

Rose Manning, chairwoman of Knowle West Health Park, fears the transfer of facilities could be the thin end of the wedge.

A cafe in the same building is to close on December 23. People who go to exercise, art, child health and complementary therapy groups all meet there.

A recent exhibition on plans for the regeneration of Knowle West showed the health park shaded in yellow – where housing is planned.

Urban Initiatives, the consultant which drew up the plans, denied that homes were planned on the large site but said there would be changes.

Mrs Manning said: “The health park only opened nine years ago. There are a lot of services here, the William Budd Health Centre, the dialysis unit and the cafe, as well as the walk-in centre.

“It is on a large site. Some people, but not local people, would like to see much of this turned into housing.

“People have been asked if they would be prepared to give up 50 per cent of the health park in return for other things they would like to see. Local people are not prepared to give up the health park.”

It may be a few years before the walk-in clinic transfers to Hengrove Park, because the foundations have not yet been laid for the £54 million South Bristol Community Hospital.

The 60-bed hospital was originally supposed to have been finished by the autumn of this year. That target was then put back to early next year but NHS Bristol, which is responsible for health spending in the city, now says it is aiming for construction work to be completed by 2012.

Ben Bennett, Associate Director of Strategic Development NHS Bristol, said: “The PCT has developed plans to commission outpatient clinics for children which will operate from the space released by the transfer of the walk-in centre.

“Previously the PCT undertook a specific engagement exercise with local people in Knowle West to consider what factors were felt to be important in identifying alternative uses for the walk-in centre space.

“The feedback from local people indicated a strong preference for community health services for children and families. There is still some considerable time before services move out of the walk-in centre once the new hospital has been built.

“The details of the specific clinics which will be offered will be confirmed nearer to the time of the planned start date in 2012, and in advance of this we would expect there to be further opportunities for local people to learn about the services to be provided.”

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Health clinics open in Eastbourne

Posted on November 25, 2009. Filed under: GP-led health centres, News stories, Providers, Social enterprise | Tags: , |

Bexhill-on-Sea Observer | Annemarie Field | NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald | 25 November 2009

TWO NEW clinics opened in Eastbourne this week.

A new state-of-the-art health centre at Eastbourne Railway Centre opened on Tuesday and offers a ‘walk in’ service to see a GP or nurse from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

And on Thursday the newly refurbished Eastbourne Dental Clinic in Terminus Buildings opened after a two month refit costing almost £500,000.

Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson was among those who were given a tour of the new walk in health centre which has taken the place of a former sports bar on the station concourse.

The walk in service will be open to everyone, regardless of whether they are registered with the health centre practice, or with another GP surgery, or not at all.

This will mean it can be used by tourists, other visitors to Eastbourne, people who work but do not live in the town, as well as people who are not registered with a GP for whatever reason.

South East Health Ltd (SEHL) will be running the centre and working closely with local GPs to ensure that the services offered by the new health centre are properly integrated into the local health care system and operate as effectively and efficiently as possible to deliver the best outcomes for local people.

The MP also opened the Eastbourne Dental Clinic on Thursday afternoon.

The project is part of the effort by NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald to improve local NHS dental services by commissioning new and enhanced services.

The new look clinic now has three resident dentists using up to date facilities including three operating rooms and a decontamination room.

The practice will offer a wide range of NHS treatments, including hygienist appointments.

Senior Partner Dr Esmail Harunani said, “We want to give all our patients top quality treatment and we will welcome all new patients who want to be seen on the NHS.

“We have re-vamped our facilities and the services we offer and we are aiming to further build our reputation for giving people excellent care and service”.

The Eastbourne Dental Clinic will offer sessions to help people, especially children, prevent problems with their teeth such as decay and tooth loss.

Free oral health seminars will be on offer every month, open to all, and will cover why mouth and tooth care is so important for people of all ages, right from the very young to older people.

People who may have difficulty in getting NHS treatment are also encouraged to visit the practice, especially anyone who has not been seen by a dentist for the past two years.

The clinic’s dental team is specially trained in helping patients who are nervous or anxious.

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New GP-led health centre opens in Cowgate

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

NHS North OF Tyneside | News Release | 20 October 2009

A new local GP-led health centre, featuring some state-of-the-art medical equipment, has successfully opened in the heart of a Newcastle community.

Since opening, Ponteland Road Health Centre, near the Aldi store in Cowgate, has received strong interest from local residents and those from nearby Blakelaw.

More than 75 people have registered as patients at the new centre – an initial take-up that was greater than expected.

The walk-in service has also proved a welcome new facility with an average of around 40 people a day now using the centre.

Ponteland Road Health Centre – open 8am to 8pm every day of the week – opened on October 5.

Dr Tony Thick, lead director of clinical services, said: “We are delighted with the public response, which clearly demonstrates the very real need for such a centre.

“The new centre provides better access to a range of GP and health services and will help people to receive treatment in centres closer to their home rather than in hospital. The centre and the 18 jobs created demonstrate our ongoing commitment to provide better healthcare access for people in the local community.”

The new centre combines a walk-in service open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days per year, a new GP practice that patients can register to join as well as hosting a range of services including x-ray, ultrasound and echocardiography (heart tests).

The jobs were created in order to manage the new health centre which along with a similar facility built and opened in Battle Hill, North Tyneside, represent a £6 million investment by the local NHS.  Both centres are situated in convenient locations for giving people who live or work in the local areas easy access to meet their healthcare needs.

The site for the centre was developed by a consortium – called Freeman Clinics – comprising the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and GP practices.

Battle Hill’s new centre manager is Tony Hockey. Tony was previously practice manager at a local GP practice. He said: “These new facilities are good news for people living in Newcastle and North Tyneside. They provide better access to a range of GP and health services in the community. Due to the unique partnership with The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we can ensure that patients receive better and more co-ordinated care.”

The centre has led to the creation of the following roles: a director of clinical services, practice manager, deputy practice manager, GPs, nurse practitioners, reception supervisor, and receptionist administrators.


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