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GPs open doors to non-registered patients at weekends as 'viable alternative' to A&E

GPs in central London will run walk-in clinics for non-registered patients on both days over the weekend, under a CCG scheme to provide a ‘viable alternative’ to A&E.

NHS Central London CCG is hoping to tackle A&E pressures by funding three Westminster GP practices to offer a Saturday and Sunday walk-in clinic.

The move sees the CCG joining the growing number of commissioners hoping to reduce A&E pressures by funding seven-day GP services. But this service, commissioned for Westminster only, will not require patients to be registered at the practice to access a GP or a nurse on the weekend.

The three practices taking part in the new scheme are The Connaught Square Practice and the Westminster and Pimlico Health Centre, which will both stay open Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 6pm, and the North West London Medical Centre, which will stay open Saturday and Sunday 8am to 4pm.

The CCG said patients will be able to access the service without an appointment and using it will not affect their registration with their own GP. It also said the practices taking part will also accept redirections from A&E departments and urgent care centres where this is clinically appropriate.

NHS Central London CCG chair Dr Ruth O’Hare said: ‘Statistics show that most patients attend A&E when their GP practice is closed, even if they don’t have a life-threatening illness. The tough message we want to send to these patients is that they are increasing the pressure on hospital services, which are there to help those who are more seriously sick or injured.

‘As we head into winter, when demand increases even further, we need to ensure that people are using services appropriately and that they don’t go to A&E with an illness or injury that can be treated by a GP or pharmacist.’

‘We recognise that, in order to stop people from going to A&E unnecessarily, we need to improve access to primary care services so that they have a viable alternative. We hope that this service provides this alternative, and that people who feel they need to see a GP over the weekend will go to the walk-in service offered by these practices in the first instance.’

Readers' comments (11)

  • very innovative - its called a walk-in-centre. I wonder how much they are paying per attendance? And who the make up are - nurses or GPs.

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  • This will not work. I despair at the naiveté of the CCG. As the previous poster says, this is a walk in centre in all but name. In our area, the walk in centre made no impact whatsoever on A&E, it just cost lots of money.

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  • So to reduce A&E workload you give GPs more workload....genius.

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  • Why only open from 8 till 4 on Sunday? People get sick outside these hours don't ya know? Lazy GPs ... I want more access than this, and why should I walk-in , I want home visits ....etc etc. Why keep fuelling demand?

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  • >Statistics show that most patients attend A&E when their GP practice is closed
    ---

    This is certainly NOT the case in our part of the country - most attendance is during the day (and often when we have availability).

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  • One problem with this is that if GPs do that, their CQC bill goes through the roof and being independent contractors, you can guess who will pick up the tab

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  • If an 8 to 8 service 7 days a week is needed in Westminster why not promote existing services like Half Penny Steps Walk in Centre which has lots of capacity rather spending more money recreating the wheel

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  • Ruth's Practice who is part of this is just to back/side of Oxford Street so it will be easy to hail this as a sucess. Its my old stompng ground as a Practice Manager Westminster

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  • GPs are not specialists or trained as ones so how can they deal of the complexities of the chronic especially since their contracts.
    Already we see this in NHS Direct & successor & Walk In Centres run by Nurses. If you have a chronic condition neglected because of this this can be fatal .When will NHS see sense ? Where is patient orientated research ? Why blame the public when structure & operation so unreasonable

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  • The increase in patients attending A&E has been attributed to the failure of the 111 service.

    I still want to know where these superhuman GP's are that can work 24/7 just to see sick kids with snotty noses? Watch the TV programs about Kings and see the wallies that turn up for care, a man with a splinter he had in his thumb for one months, a drunk who cut her eye falling over .... educate the public in basic first aid, put it on curriculums at school. GP's are human beings , not surepnman!

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