11 November 2013

RCGP Response to Monitor Report on Closure of Walk-in Centres

The RCGP has responded to a report by health sector regulator, Monitor, on the closure of NHS walk-in centres.

Chair Elect of the Royal College of GPs, Dr Maureen Baker, said: "The development of walk-in centres was an attempt to provide convenient access to certain groups of patients with predominantly urgent health needs, and to help alleviate the pressures on A&E. While they have proved popular with some groups of patients, walk-in centres have generally not had an impact on the attendances at A&E or on the increasing demand on GPs. Local commissioners are best placed to re-design and integrate their urgent and emergency care systems from a whole system perspective. However, greater clarity is needed in some centres where the walk-in element is the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and if there is a registered list this is the responsibility of NHS England.

“Overwhelmingly general practice remains the most popular choice with patients for urgent and non-urgent healthcare with well over 300 million consultations per year, considerably more than any other service providing urgent care alone. What we really need is much greater investment in general practice so that we can provide holistic care with more appointments, services and continuity of care for all our patients as well as value for money to the NHS.

"General practice deals with 90% of patient contacts within the NHS for less than 9% of the overall NHS budget. GPs are struggling to cope with the dual pressure of spiralling workloads but ever decreasing resources, with many routinely working 11-hour days in surgery, and conducting as many as 60 patient consultations in a single day. This is not sustainable or safe for patients or GPs. If general practice starts to crumble, the rest of the NHS follows closely behind. We need more funding, including more GPs, as a matter of urgency so that we can continue to deliver safe patient care, protect the future of general practice and safeguard the future of the NHS."

Further Information

RCGP Press office - 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 49,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.