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Minister opens 50th GP-led health centre

By Steve Nowottny

Health minister Mike O'Brien has opened the 50th fully operational GP-led health centre in England.

The North Colchester Healthcare Centre in Colchester, north Essex, which is run by private provider Harmoni, is open from 7am to 10pm seven days a week, and offers a range of extra services including a minor injuries service and phlebotomy.

A total of 2,629 patients have used the centre in its first four weeks, on either a walk-in or registered patient basis.

Mr O'Brien said the new centre would make a ‘huge difference' to access for local patients.

‘Centres like this one are opening up and down the country, complementing services provided by existing practices and are already proving popular with patients, who have told us that they want to be able to see a GP at times convenient to them,' he said.

Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, a GP and chief executive of NHS North East Essex, said: ‘We have been delighted with the response of patients attending the centre and have received many favourable comments. The fact the average weekly attendance is more than 100 up on the last month at the old walk-in centre suggests accessibility is not an issue.'

‘We have an expanding population and this new service will help ensure we continue to provide the best possible health services to the people of North East Essex.'

Health minister Mike O'Brien opens the 50th GP-led health centre Health minister Mike O'Brien opens the 50th GP-led health centre

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