Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed that 53 NHS walk-in centres in England are to be replaced with cheaper “crawl-in centres”, in a bid to reduce costs of essential services.
“We’re lowering the bar to out-of-hours care access” said Mr Hunt. “And anyone capable of stepping over that bar, wedged across the surgery doorway, can see their GP during daylight hours like the rest of us.”
Crawl-in centres are aimed at low-income working families, the elderly and other socially excluded groups who find it hard to get to an out of town A&E unit. Conveniently situated in vacant high street shops, they are being fitted out with state-of-the-art damp mattresses, mugs of hot-water and a small directory of undertakers and medical negligence claims companies.
“Local services simply delivered are the future of the health service” said Mr Hunt. “And if this policy works, we’re looking at opening up private versions for health tourists next door. I hear there are plenty of empty travel agents’ around”