The country’s first walk-in health centre, which opened in Bradford two years ago, is seeing three times as many patients as anticipated.

The GP-led health centre, Hillside Bridge, in Butler Street, Barkerend, was opened by then Health Secretary Alan Johnson, in November, 2008. It was the first in England to offer people access to GPs when they needed it - even on Christmas and new years days.

At the time health bosses expected 542 patients to use the walk-in facility each month. However, latest figures show it has been used on average by 1,529 patients each month.

As of October 1, 2010, there were also 3,734 patients registered at the practice.

The walk-in health centre was the first of 152 to be opened across England over the year as part of a £250million investment in primary care by the then Labour Government.

Many family doctors opposed the centres, saying money could be better spent on existing services, however, the figures for the Bradford centre and others across the Yorkshire region, show just how popular they have been with patients.

Some are now falling victim to this success as worsening financial situations have forced health chiefs in other parts of the region to axe the service.

However, bosses in Bradford denied Hillside Bridge, was at risk of closure.

A spokesman for NHS Bradford and Airedale said: “We are experiencing higher than expected walk-in patient numbers at the Hillside Bridge GP-led health centre but many patients are also registering with the practice.

“As part of normal business between the PCT and our partners Local Care Direct we constantly review contract details and the service as a whole to make sure it continues to deliver excellent patient care and value for money.”

Local Care Direct Bradford at Hillside Bridge Healthcare Centre, 4 Butler Street West, Bradford, BD3 0BS, is open 8am to 8pm seven days a week including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

It offers both drop-in and pre-bookable appointments for registered and non-registered patients. Contact the practice on 0845 121 1024.