England to have more walk-in clinics
Seventeen new walk-in health clinics are to be set up in England, bringing the total to 36, the UK health secretary, Frank Dobson, told the Labour party conference.
The centres will offer free consultations, minor treatment, and health information from 7 00 am to 10 00 pm, including weekends. The clinics, along with the 24 hour NHS Direct telephone advice service, which covers 40% of England, are part of the government's 10 year programme to modernise the NHS and are a response to patients' complaints of having to wait several days to see a GP.
Other parts of the government's modernisation programme were the upgrading of 1000 GP premises, the modernisation of many accident and emergency departments, and the NHS's big hospital building programme--37 hospitals were in the pipeline and 18 had already been built.
Mr Dobson also announced the first national standards framework for mental health services (see below).