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Urgent care centres are the way forward

Your article 'Urgent care centres to send thousands of cases back to GPs') does not tell the whole story.

Since October 2008, when Hertfordshire's first urgent care centre opened in Hemel Hempstead, it has seen in excess of 6,300 patients, more than 80% of whom were treated and discharged within two hours.

The 38% of patients referred back to GPs following a visit to an urgent care centre will have been fully assessed and their urgent need treated by the centre's clinical staff, including GPs. As with a traditional A&E model, follow-up care will take place at practice level and is likely to include changing dressings, taking out stitches and prescribing ongoing medication.

Our evaluation shows the average wait for a consultation is just 21 minutes and only a very small minority of patients were referred on to an A&E department.

We also believe it is the right model to have GPs leading the multidisciplinary team that provides these services.

From Anne Walker, chief executive, West Hertfordshire PCT, East and North Hertfordshire PCT

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