Loughborough NHS Walk-In Centre Not Shown to Alter GP Workload
Effect of NHS
walk-in centre on local primary healthcare services: before and after
observational study, BMJ Volume 326
of NHS walk-in centres may not affect the workload of local general
practitioners, but more evidence is needed to determine their true impact on
other local healthcare services, according to studies in this week's British
from the University of Leicester Department of Epidemiology and Public Health
compared the activity of local general practices (GPs) and use of emergency
healthcare services by people from Loughborough and Market Harborough, before
and after a walk-in centre opened in Loughborough.
found no significant effect on GP emergency consultations, the availability of
routine appointments with GPs, use of GP out of hours services, or the number of
calls to NHS Direct. However, the workload of the Minor Injuries Unit in
Loughborough increased significantly when compared with the Unit in Market
Harborough, probably because it was in the same building as the walk-in centre.
results concurred with a second study, in which researchers from the NHS Walk-In
Centre National Evaluation Team based at the University of Bristol assessed the
impact of NHS walk-in centres on the workload of 20 accident and emergency
departments, 40 general practices, and 14 out of hours services in England.
Their results imply that walk-in centres may moderate the increasing demand on
general practice and reduce the number of consultations in accident and
emergency departments. However, any impact of a walk-in centre was not
statistically significant. They conclude that to determine whether walk-in
centres reduce the demand on other local NHS providers will require study of a
large number of sites over a prolonged period.
TO EDITORS: For
further information contact Dr Ronald Hsu, Clinical Lecturer in Epidemiology and
Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of
Leicester, UK, +44 (0)116 252 3283, email email@example.com