NHS walk-in centre for commuters

LIVERPOOL Street, the principal point of entry to London for commuters from Suffolk and Essex, is to be the site of one of seven new NHS walk-in centres near busy railway stations.

LIVERPOOL Street, the principal point of entry to London for commuters from Suffolk and Essex, is to be the site of one of seven new NHS walk-in centres near busy railway stations.

From this spring, patients will be able to see a doctor or nurse without an appointment as part of the Government's drive to encourage commuters to get medical treatment or advice on the way to or from work.

Health minister John Hutton said that in addition to Liverpool Street, the London centres would be at King's Cross, Canary Wharf and Victoria stations.

Centres will also be set up near the mainline stations in Leeds, Manchester Piccadilly and Newcastle Central station.


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The centres offer services traditionally provided by GP practices, including physiotherapy, blood pressure checks, treatment for minor injuries and prescription and pharmacy services.

They are run by experienced nurses but also have GPs available to see patients.

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It is estimated that the seven new centres will each see more than 30,000 patients a year.

They will run initially run as five-year pilot projects, with £25 million invested in the first three years. There are 61 walk-in centres currently operating in England.

Mr Hutton said: "There is a real demand for medical centres at busy stations.

People want an NHS that allows them to choose how, where and when they are treated.

"The convenient location of these NHS walk-in centres for commuters will make better access to healthcare a reality.

"They will allow many patients to see a GP or a nurse when they choose, without the need for an appointment."

The Department of Health has invited bids to run the stand-alone walk-in centres and has received 70 expressions of interest from national and international healthcare providers and GP collectives.

If the centres prove a success, more could follow in other major cities.

A survey of 800 commuters by Mori found that almost two in three (63%) said they were "likely'" to use the new walk-in centres. A further 42% said they were "certain" or "very likely"' to use them.

For the Conservatives, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Walk-in centres may have a role to play, but they are no substitute for services provided by a patients' own GP.

"If the Government really wanted to improve the situation, they would stop undermining the crucial role of the family doctor and help improve access for people wanting to visit their own GP."

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