Providing another way of treating people forced to attend a hospital at the weekend would free up resources and reduce stress levels on hospital employees. This is a ticking time bomb because by 2039 the number of people aged 75 or over is expected to nearly double to close on 10m people. And because people are living longer they tend to need more medical attention. People over 85 see their GPs on average 13 times a year – significantly more than those under 85.
This has been recognised in a government review highlighting the importance of primary healthcare premises as a way of providing evening and weekend facilities. But it’s not going to be plain sailing. Building a new health centre is more regional locations is more viable financially than building one in a built up area, where there is greater competition for land from residential and commercial developments.