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Weekend pop-up GP clinics at Brighton and Portslade extended
A pilot project to hold weekend pop-up GP clinics has been extended due to high demand.
The walk-in clinics were introduced in Brighton and Hove to help ease pressure on the Royal Sussex County Hospital’s accident and emergency department over the winter.
People do not have to book an appointment beforehand and the aim was to provide an extra alternative to A&E to cut the number of visitors coming into the department when they didn’t need to.
The clinics were due to end this month but have been so successful, Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is continuing them for another six weeks.
This will cover the busy Easter period and the school holidays up until May 11.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust runs the Royal Sussex and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
On Friday it was operating on red alert, the second highest out of four levels, although the situation fluctuates regularly.
It means the trust has capacity issues, high numbers of people coming into A&E, extended ambulance turn-around times and staff shortages.
A spokeswoman said: “Providing alternatives to A&E is key to unlocking the issue and we absolutely welcome the extension to this walk-in service to cover the Easter period.”
The cost of running the clinics between December and March was covered by extra Government funding awarded to the city to help health services cope with winter pressures.
The CCG is funding the extension from its own budget, at a cost of £45,000.
Around 400 people have visited since they began on Boxing Day and problems have included chest infections, migraines and wheezing or mild breathing problems.
Many of them, when asked, said they would have gone to A&E had the clinic not been available Chairman Xavier Nalletamby said: “We know that our A&E department is bursting at the seams and when we looked into why, people told us they didn’t know where to go.
“We are really pleased that people have been finding the clinics so useful.”
The clinics, based at the fracture clinic in the Royal Sussex and Portslade County Clinic in Old Shoreham Road, are open on weekend mornings.
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