The opening hours of the country’s first walk-in health centre are set to be cut because so many patients are abusing the system that costs have soared.

The GP-led health centre – Hillside Bridge, in Butler Street, Barkerend, Bradford – was designed to improve access to healthcare for some of the most socially-excluded members of the community.

However, a damning new report reveals the vast majority of patients using the service are in fact those already registered with local GPs and who are seeking a second opinion, treatment for minor ailments or an appointment during the day when they could be seen by their own doctor.

This means the primary care trust, NHS Bradford and Airedale, is paying twice for their care, the report says.

And, in a further blow, the study reveals the walk-in centre has failed to show any demonstrable improvements in health outcomes for the local population.

The report by Dr Andy McElligott, medical director of NHS Bradford and Airedale, says: “Whilst the service has been useful to individual patients, it has not resulted in demonstrable improvements in health outcomes or cost benefits, and has actually increased demand for urgent-care services.

“We have found that a proportion of patients have been using the GP-led health centre for a second opinion when they have already been given appropriate advice by their own GP.

“The service provided by the GP-led health centre for non-registered patients is therefore a duplication of service provision.”

The report will be discussed at a board meeting of NHS Bradford and Airedale tomorrow at 1pm at Douglas Mill, Bradford.

  • Read the full story in Monday's T&A