Walk-in centre celebrates sixth anniversary

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North Colchester Healthcare Centre in Turner Road, which houses an NHS walk-in centre, celebrates six years of operation on 1 June with the number of people using the service rising all the time.

In April this year, 4,902 patients used the walk-in facility. Since the centre opened, this is a monthly figure beaten only in December 2014 and January 2015, a period when the whole country’s NHS was under severe pressure.

In the centre’s first year of operation, June 2009-May 2010, 37,520 patients walked through its doors. In the past year, that figure has risen to more than 63,000.

Sandy Measor is practice manager at the centre, which is run on behalf of the local NHS by Colchester-based independent health and social care organisation, Care UK. Sandy said: “We are delighted that not only has the centre become so popular but that the level of patient satisfaction is so high. We extended our waiting area last year to cope with the demand and this year we added an x-ray facility which has proved very popular and helped ease pressure on A&E.”

The centre is open 7am-10pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year for walk-in patients with a minor injury or minor illness. Walk-in patients visiting after 8pm are advised to call the centre before attending to check the centre is still accepting patients as, on occasions, the service has to stop registration prior to 10pm due to excessive demand.

The centre also has a registered patient list and these patients are able to book appointments at weekends. The GP practice is piloting an initiative which could transform how GP services are run, including offering patients access to a clinician and appointment booking between 7am-10pm. The pilot launched after Care UK was awarded nearly £1 million by the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to introduce an initiative called superpractices.

Sam Hepplewhite, acting chief officer of NHS North East Essex Clinical Commission Group (CCG), said: “The walk-in centre has been a vital service for local people, and we want to use their experience when designing a new urgent care system. I congratulate all the staff who have worked there during these years.”

The centre can be contacted on 01206 314015.

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