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NHS WALK-IN CENTRES DO LITTLE TO EASE PRESSURE ON A&E

  • Published Date: 22 March 2016

 Although walk-in NHS centres are popular, they are an expensive way and largely ineffective of taking the pressure off busy casualty departments. That is the central finding of research by Ted Pinchbeck, to be presented at the Royal Economic Society's annual conference in Brighton in March 2016.

Walk-in health centres were used by the NHS in around 200 communities back in 2010, but around a fifth of them have closed since then. Offering extended hours and no need to book or register, they are often popular within their own communities. But until recently, there was little real evidence to tell whether or not they offer value for money.

The study looks at hospital and health centre records and finds that although walk-in centres do divert people away from A&E wards, only around 5-20% of the patients who visited them would have otherwise gone to A&E.

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