Monitor investigates reasons behind closure of “popular” Darzi walk-in centres

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 31 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3570
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The health regulator Monitor has launched an investigation into the closure of walk-in centres set up under the previous Labour government, amid claims that the popular centres are being shut down simply to save money, and that the closures are not in the best interests of patients or competition.

Following Lord Darzi’s NHS next stage review in 2008, primary care trusts (PCTs) were required to commission at least one health centre led by general practitioners for their area, to provide routine or urgent primary care to patients without an appointment under the Equitable Access Programme.1 These so called “Darzi centres” had to be open between 8 am and 8 pm, seven days a week. They provide care mostly to unregistered patients, although they have a small number of registered patients who had been unable to sign on with a general practice.

PCTs generally commissioned these centres through competitive procurements, and …

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