Walk-in centres near stations 'unpopular and expensive'

Walk-in centres near train stations are not popular with commuters and expensive to run, according to a DoH-funded pilot study.

Pilot walk-in centres for commuters proved to be expensive and had low attendance (Photograph: SPL)
Pilot walk-in centres for commuters proved to be expensive and had low attendance (Photograph: SPL)

Six walk-in centres, run by independent providers, were set up between 2005 and 2007 to provide health care to commuters.

The average number of patients attending each centre on days when a patient user survey was undertaken was between 33 and 101 per day. This was considerably lower than the anticipated capacity of 150-180 patients a day.

The estimated cost per attendance for the centres was between £52 and £150, according to results published in the BJGP.

The researchers, led by Dr Alica O'Cathain, from the University of Sheffield, concluded: ‘Pilot walk-in centres placed near train centres for commuters had low activity levels and high costs.

‘A policy of placing healthcare centres in areas of high worker density may be more successful.'

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