Knowing Which Way to turn: Young Families and Urgent Care Centres

Our report on Young Families using Urgent Care in Kensington & Chelsea is here.

Healthwatch Central West London has found that 69% of parents with children under the age of seven have headed straight to A&E or Urgent Care Centres (UCCs) before consulting their GP or NHS 111, in a study of urgent care centres in Kensington & Chelsea.

To find out why parents opt for Urgent Care over the available primary care or telephone options, Healthwatch CWL and Maternity Champions surveyed patients waiting at St Charles Urgent Care Centre and Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Urgent Care Centre and A&E, and held two discussion groups in North Kensington (Venture Centre) and South Kensington (Chelsea Theatre).

You can read our findings in Knowing Which Way to Turn - K&C Young Families Report 2019

Healthwatch Central West London Recommendations:

  • Raising awareness of alternative appointment times, such as Extended Hours and NHS 111. GPs should also be making clear the differences between services such as walk-in clinics and Urgent Treatment Centres.
  • Raising awareness for ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’, in Kensington & Chelsea, which helps to explain to patients the reason that GPs should not be prescribing antibiotics.
  • The addition of a specialist paediatric service for young children in the north of the borough would meet a clear demand.
  • The empowerment of parents through first aid training would be helpful.
  • The option of booking double appointments should be given to parents whose children might have several health issues, particularly BME parents or those that might have difficulties with a language barrier.

Kensington & Chelsea

Children in Kensington & Chelsea attend A&E and urgent treatment at a higher rate than the local and national average. In our study with families visiting urgent care, Healthwatch Central West London has contributed data to an ongoing discussion of how to improve awareness, information and communication throughout the borough.

What is an Urgent Care Centre?

Urgent care centres are an alternative to A&E, treating both children and adults. Urgent care centres provide treatment for minor injuries and illnesses that are urgent but not life threatening for example:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Minor broken bones, such as toes, ankles, wrists, fingers or collarbone
  • Minor burns to small areas
  • Minor cuts, including those that need stitches
  • Common infections such as chest ear or throat

More information on Urgent Care Centres.