Following an Urgent Question on accident and emergency services, I asked the Secretary of State about the Government’s decision to close walk-in centres and scrap GP access targets.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): May I assure the Secretary of State that the people of Exeter are not confused about their walk-in centres, but appreciate them and have been using them in ever-increasing numbers? These centres are now under threat, so will he at least admit that closing NHS walk-in centres and scrapping Labour’s GP access targets has been a dreadful mistake?
Mr Hunt: Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman might like to hear what the British Medical Association said yesterday about walk-in centres. The BMA is not known for its support of Government policies, but it said that urgent care centres “were often opened in places with little patient demand…The result has been a lot of money being spent on these facilities with some now closing because commissioners have found there is not sufficient demand”. That is the problem we are sorting out.