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Most patients requiring urgent care can be managed by a GP or emergency nurse practitioner

Charing Cross and Hammersmith Hospitals’ accident and emergency services will be reconfigured under current plans for reconfiguring health services in North West London. Both hospitals currently have a GP-led urgent care centre co-located with an emergency department. Patients who refer themselves for emergency care are unable to access the emergency department without being seen by a GP or emergency nurse practitioner in an urgent care centre. We present early data on the evaluation of the two the urgent care centres that was published in a letter in the BMJ.

From 1 October 2009 to 31 December 2012, 282 947 unplanned attendances occurred at these centres, 63.2% of them at Charing Cross Hospital. The annual number of attendances increased by 9.4% (7911) from 2010 to 2012 (92 303 in 2012). Most attending patients (85.3%) were registered with a general practice, and 47.7% of attendances occurred outside of general practice core hours. The most common category of primary diagnosis was “injury” (24.1%).

Patients were referred to the co-located emergency departments in 18.0% of attendances (13.4% self referred; 4.6% referred by GP). The risk of referral in patients aged 65 years and over (33.2% of attendances) was significantly greater than in those aged 0 to 15 (8.2%), 16 to 24 (12.9%), 25 to 49 (16.5%), and 50 to 64 years (25.9%).

In conclusion, most patients attending urgent care centres can be managed by a GP or emergency nurse practitioner. A protocol for the evaluation can be viewed in JRSM Open. Full results from the evaluation will be available later in 2014 or in 2015. 

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