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Walk-in centres a 'waste of money'

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NHS funded walk-in centres near railway stations are under-used and a waste of money, according to research published in the British Journal of General Practice.

It says that some of the centres, which have the capacity to treat between 150 to 180 patients a day, are seeing as few as 30.

The £50m, five-year pilot programme of six commuter clinics near stations in London, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds are paid for by the NHS but run by private health providers.

The clinics offer access to a doctor, unlike some nurse-led walk-in centres, and are open from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday.

But they cost twice as much to run as other GP surgeries, says the report by researchers at Sheffield University, and four of the centres are not easily accessible.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “It will be for primary care trusts to decide whether to continue providing these services and whether they offer the best value for money.”

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