Hours cut at NHS walk-in service

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Patients at a Bradford NHS walk-in service were last night warned hours have now been cut.

The opening times of Bradford’s NHS walk-in service changed yesterday and patients registered with local GPs are being advised to always seek urgent care from their own practice rather than queue at the walk-in centre.

Hillside Bridge Health Centre has provided both a GP practice to registered patients, as well as providing a walk-in service for any patients. The practice, based in Barkerend, will change its opening hours to 2pm to 8pm, seven days a week, and will re-prioritise the use of the walk-in service.

Any patients registered at Hillside Bridge, can still get appointments from 8am.

The centre, has seen demand four times that expected, with 23,500 people using it in 2009-10, significantly driving up costs. The centre was designed for the most deprived people in the area but checks showed few were using it. More than a third of walk-in patients were those already registered at other GP practices, some of whom were seeking a second opinion, leaving the NHS to pay double for the same service.

Patients registered with a GP are being asked to contact their own practice for urgent care from 8am to 6.30pm on weekdays, instead of going to the walk-in service. On a weekend, patients registered with a practice in the district should contact West Yorkshire Urgent Care Services by calling: 0345 605 99 99.

It allows appointments at the walk-in service to be prioritised for those not registered with a GP, such as asylum seekers, homeless people, travellers and refugees.

The service opened in December 2008 and was previously open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

Dr Damian Riley, medical director at NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said last night: “This change was needed to make sure the walk-in service is used to its best advantage and continues to provide real value for money.”