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Objectives To find out which groups of people would use a National Health Service walk-in centre that would offer mainly health care advice, staffed by nurses. To understand the circumstances in which people would use a walk-in centre and to ascertain to what extent it would meet patients' expressed health-care needs. Design A postal survey of 2400 people plus 27 semi-structured interviews and one focus group. Setting and participants The study was conducted in Wakefield, Yorkshire UK, and included both white and ethnic minority groups. Results Most people reported that they would use a walk-in centre. It would be more attractive to young as compared with older people, ethnic minority as compared with white people, people who are dissatisfied with access to NHS services and people with urgent health-care problems. People want a wide range of services, including diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and general information. People also want access to both doctors and nurses, to male as well as female practitioners, to counsellors and interpreters. The type of service planned for this walk-in centre will meet some of the expressed needs. However, patients' expectations of the walk-in centre exceed planned provision in a number of key respects. Conclusion Walk-in centres without GPs and with limited services will disappoint the public. It is important that walk-in centres are evaluated and attention paid to 'local voices' before additional money is allocated for such centres elsewhere.

Original publication




Journal article


Health Expectations

Publication Date





38 - 47