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The NHS chief doctor is expected to say that walk-in centres are crucial to the overall health of the system, although nearly a quarter have closed since 2010. ITV News Science and Medical Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:
Walk-in NHS health centres are not a "one-size-fits-all solution" to healthcare and are only "party of the answer" for delivering a comprehensive public service, health minister Lord Howe has said.
The Conservative peer did not outright dismiss concerns over the number of walk-in centres which had closed, but said the Government was working with healthcare regulators to deliver services "tailored to the local needs of patients".
A number of walk-in NHS health centres have been a victim of their own success and are closing because of their popularity with patients, according to a report published by health regulator Monitor:
- Local health bosses sometimes believed the centres were generating "unwarranted" demand with many "worried well" attending.
- In some cases the centres proved "too popular", officials said.
- Some health commissioners were concerned they were paying twice for a health service, with patients at walk-ins able to get the same help from their local GP.
The closure of walk-in NHS centres which treat minor illnesses and injuries without an appointment, have exposed gaps in vital care relied on by the elderly and vulnerable, a health regulator has said.
Monitor's executive director of co-operation and competition, Catherine Davies, explained:
Popular NHS walk-in centres have faced a rash of closure over the last three years, with almost one in four shutting their doors and "increasing health inequalities", a health regulator has warned.
Despite the success of the centres with patients, 53 of the 238 walk-in facilities in England have closed, according to regulator Monitor's review of the service.
Monitor said the centres had been embraced by young adults, women and the poor.
Latest ITV News reports
NHS regulator Monitor have found that nearly a quarter of walk-in centres have closed since 2010. Find out if your area has been affected.