Harrow CCG looks at the future of GP walk-in services in the borough
11 July 2019
Following the successful transition of the Alexandra Avenue walk-in centre to a GP Access Centre, Harrow CCG is considering similar changes to its other walk-in and wait services provided at Belmont Health Centre and Pinn Medical Centre.
Last year the walk-in service at Alexandra Avenue changed from a walk-in and wait service to an appointment-only service for Harrow residents. This change followed national NHS guidance to develop GP access centres.
Since the change at Alexandra Avenue we have spoken to service users to gather their feedback, and reviewed usage data for the service. We are confident that the change from a walk-in and wait service to an appointment-only service for Harrow residents has been beneficial. We are now looking at the possibility of making the same change at the Belmont Health Centre and Pinn Medical Centre.
Currently access to GP services across Harrow is unequal and we want to reduce variation as part of our review.
The Pinn Medical Centre currently operates two walk-in services; one for patients registered with the practice, and a general walk-in service for anyone, living in any borough.
We don’t think having two separate walk-in services provides fair access for all Harrow residents, or makes best use of our limited resources.
Of the patients using the general walk-in service at Pinn Medical Centre, only four out of 10 live in Harrow.
Opening up services in Harrow means wherever patients live in the borough there will be equal availability of GP access services.
GP access services are available in all boroughs across North West London, including Harrow. These services provide booked appointments for patients within their registered borough. Providing appointments in this way means we can offer fair access for all patients.
This is why we are looking at ways of providing services and appointments that are exclusively for patients in Harrow.
We are therefore considering a GP Access Centre or appointment service at Pinn Medical Centre so services are provided only to Harrow patients. This will provide greater access for our local population offering a dedicated GP appointment time.
At the same time as reviewing Pinn Medical Centre we will also be looking at a similar model for the Belmont Medical Centre, to ensure all our GP access services provide the same service to residents.
Our recent survey, from May 2019, showed that 8 out of 10 patients rated their experience at the Alexandra Avenue GP Access Centre as very good or excellent.
GP access centres offer improved access to GP services for local residents, who don’t need to spend long periods of time in the waiting room; they can simply call their GP practice or NHS 111 to book an appointment.
They offer the same clinical services as walk-in centres, but they are safer and offer a more efficient service for patients.
When booking an appointment at a GP access centre through your GP or calling 111, patients are triaged. If conditions are too serious to be treated at the GP access centre, patients will be directed to the right service straight away, which could be an Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E. This saves patients time and gets them to the right clinical service first time.
When Harrow CCG decides to go forward with proposals to change these services we will engage with the local community and our stakeholders.
Notes to editors
Harrow GP Access Centre
The Alexandra Avenue Health Centre
8am - 8pm 7 days a week
Hillingdon GP Access Centres
(North) Eastcote Health
(nurse only Saturday 12pm-4pm)
(Central) Uxbridge Surgery
(nurse only Saturday 8am-12pm)
(South) HESA Medical Centre
(nurse only Sunday 8am-12pm)