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Walk-in medical centres planned

Nurses in Scotland could soon be providing treatments from shopping centres under new plans announced by the country's health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon.

She wants patients to have greater access to medical expertise, and has unveiled a series of pilot schemes across five areas.

Ms Sturgeon also wants to extend the hours GPs work to evenings and weekends under their current contract.

She said: "That is why by the end of March next year, we will establish five pilot projects in some of our biggest health board areas - Grampian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian and Tayside - to provide walk-in access to a range of primary care services via community pharmacies.

"These pilots will be located at main commuter points, major shopping centres and inner city areas.

"They will provide extended hours walk-in access to a wide range of services, including nurse-led minor injury treatments, sexual health screening, simple diagnostic tests, and some adult immunisations."

She said she realises that GPs cannot ever be available to people 24 hours a day, but added: "Many patients - including those in some hard to reach groups - both want and would benefit from being able to see a GP before or after work or at the weekend."

Scottish Government

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Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"I think these centres miss a great opportunity to provide opportunistic health checks. They could provide a comprehensive assessment of CHD/cancer risk etc and advise patients on measures they can take to reduce risk and improve their health" - Name and address supplied

"I am a nurse advisor working in West Midlands region at NHS Direct. I think walk-in centres are the best way forward for all. You have the best of both worlds, up to date info re any medical problems which are answered promptly by medically trained staff who have the luxury of seeing the patient face-to-face taking the pressure off doctor's surgery appointments and taking pressure off A&E units. The general public want a quick response or an answer at the touch of a button" - Name and address supplied