To help remedy this shortage, last summer the new Broad Street GP practice and NHS Walk-In Centre opened its doors. The GP practice was the first of its kind in the UK to be run by an independent health care company on behalf of the NHS. It is designed to bring GP services to more people in the PCT area.
The NHS Walk-In Centre is part of a Government initiative to bring health services closer to the people who need them the most. It is the second NHS Walk-In Centre in Barking and Dagenham - the other is located at Upney Lane in Barking.
Both the GP practice and the NHS Walk-In Centre are run by Care UK, a specialist independent health and social care with a proven track record of working with the NHS.
So far over 1,500 people have registered with the GP practice, and this is very encouraging, but there is more capacity available for the people of Barking and Dagenham.
Statistics also show that some 8,000 people in the PCT area are not registered with a GP, despite the obvious benefits of registration to long-term health care.
Joan Woolcock, practice manager at Broad Street, said: "We are encouraged by the number of local people who have registered with the GP practice so far, and they are delighted with the service they are receiving. We can register 7,500 patients at the practice, so we really want to encourage more people to come forward and use our services. We operate like any other NHS GP practice, with treatment and advice available free of charge at the point of access."
In an area which, over the past years, has been 'under-doctored', local people may need reminding why it is a good idea to register with a GP practice. The benefits mean:
- You will have peace of mind for you and your family, knowing that there is a team of medical experts available who know you and your medical history
- You can make an appointment to see a GP whenever you feel it is necessary. It is free to do so and it means that you may be seen by a doctor quickly.
- If you are on regular medication, a GP can check that it is appropriate for you and make recommendations if necessary. They can also help you ensure that you receive your regular medication when you need it, and that you are taking it correctly.
- A GP will be able to refer you to specialists and other treatments should he or she think it is right for you. This means that you will receive the best care for you and that you may get better faster.
Joan continued: "The benefits are obvious, and we are here to help. If any local people want to come and see the practice before they register, they are more than welcome to do so - simply gives us a call to arrange an appointment. Registering with a GP is easy and straightforward, and in the long run will mean improved health for you and your family. It's a win-win situation."
Broad Street NHS Walk-In Centre is open to any member of the public seven days a week - from 8.00am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am to 6.00pm at weekends. A visit here could save you a trip to A & E.
The Broad Street GP practice is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday, and 10.00am to 2.00pm on Saturday.
For more information, please call the Broad Street NHS GP Practice on 0208 465 3652 and the Broad Street NHS Walk-In Centre on 0208 596 4400.
Visit the Broad Street NHS Walk in Centre website