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Walk-in centres favoured among the young

Walk-in centres favoured among the young

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People aged 18-34 are twice as likely to go to A&E or a walk-in centre to receive treatment claims the Citizens Advice.

Its report, Evolving expectations of GP services report, completed by the charity analysed NHS GP Patient Survey data and showed that 14% of young people were unable to see a GP.

A further 13% said that they did not get any alternative professional help after failing to make an appointment.

Last year almost 4,500 people came to Citizens Advice with an issue relating to GP services. One fifth (21%) were younger adults aged 14-34.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: "GP services need to keep up with 21st century lifestyles. Long working hours means it can be difficult for younger adults to get an appointment with a GP, let alone one at a convenient time. As a result some people are struggling to access the medical advice they need.

"It is in the NHS’ interest to get primary healthcare for younger adults right and ensure services fit around busy working lives. A failure to meet their needs piles more pressure on budgets and is an inefficient use of scarce NHS resources.”

Evolving expectations of GP services found that walk-in centres are a preferred option for younger adults if they cannot get a GP appointment but many of these centres are closing. Since 2010, 50 walk-in centres have closed and there are now only 185 left in England.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA GP Committee, said:“GPs provide a 24/7service with most surgeries not only working increasingly hard during the day to cope with rapidly rising demand, and many offering extended opening hours providing early morning, evening and weekend appointments, but in addition large numbers of GPs work for out-of-hours organisations seeing patients right through the night.

“However, both day-time and out-of-hours services have seen funding cut, and are increasingly struggling to recruit new GPs, at the same time as demand for appointments has been increasing. The problems with NHS 111 and the confusing fragmentation of urgent care services have also made things worse rather than better.

“With demand for appointments rising and more care being delivered in the community, the system is struggling to keep up. We desperately need more GPs and investment in services if general practice can deliver the care patients need, when they need it and keep up with the sheer number of patients coming through the door.”

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