Tuesday 19 August 2003: Plans for a new £5m commercial casualty clinic was announced to offers a “fast-track alternative to the NHS” treating cuts, burns, fractures and similar minor injuries without the waiting involved in a health service A&E unit.
Patients would be charged £29 for an initial consultation with further charges depending on the treatment required.
Casualty Plus, the Brentford-based clinic, independently run, will open from 7am to 11pm.
Research showed 80% of patients attending public-sector A&E units had minor injuries, but often had to wait hours for treatment. Surveys for the Casualty Plus suggested 30% of those would be willing to pay to avoid the queues.
The NHS runs walk-in centres across the country for patients with minor illnesses and there are private-sector clinics in mainline rail stations and shopping centres that offer a similar service. But Casualty Plus claimed it would be the first to offer private treatment for injuries such as fractures.
A spokesman said: “We will have X-ray facilities and pathology laboratories and the back- up of full resuscitation facilities that the other clinics don’t have. This is a scale up from them.”
The clinic will be staffed by A&E trained doctors and nurses, plus other staff including radiographers and physiotherapists. If successful, the company plans to set up similar walk-in A&E clinics across the country.
The Government target for NHS A&E units is that 90 per cent of patients should be seen within four hours.
By Barbara Cockburn