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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 16:27 GMT
Health centre 'reduces GPs' load'
Patients using a new walk-in medical centre in Darlington would otherwise have added to the workload of their doctor or the hospital, research shows.

The 2m medical centre opened in the town centre in the middle of January.

During the first six weeks of its operation, 2,681 people visited the nurse-led clinic.

Of those, 80% said they would normally have gone to their doctor, and 20% would have gone to a hospital accident and emergency department.

Nicola Wharton, the matron running the centre, said that 85% of the patients were from Darlington itself.

'Minor injuries'

She said: "This proves we are serving local people which was the whole point of the centre.

"People have been coming mainly with earache, coughs, rashes, flu and fevers rather than minor injuries."

The busiest day to date had been Saturday 26 February, when 128 people had been treated, and the busiest times of the day were between 1000 and 1200 and about 1400.

Age-wise, the highest attendees were five to 16-year-olds, who accounted for 368 of the total, and there had been 78 visitors aged 80 to 100.

The results of the numbers attending and type of condition presented will be fed back to the hospital and GP practices.




SEE ALSO:
NHS walk-in centres 'safe'
28 Jun 02 |  Health


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