We use cookies on this site

Overview: Urgent Care Centres

Based on work carried out for the Department of Health and others, the Primary Care Foundation has published a discussion paper on urgent care centres.  We describe how the term Urgent Care Centre is used for some very different services and how the range of cases that can be treated varied over time at some centres.  We were looking for services that delivered high-quality, effective and cost-effective care. We set the following criteria for this review:

  • Care should be provided promptly
  • Patient’s needs should be met and the scope of the service should be clear
  • Governance and management responsibility for improving quality and cost-effectiveness should be clear and exercised
  • The environment should be right and promote integration with other services
  • The process should support the features that we were looking for


A number of recommendations are made under the headings of:

  • Clearly defining the expectations of any urgent care services and measuring their impact across a whole health economy
  • Specifying the data required to demonstrate the impact and analysing that intelligently
  • Integrating urgent care services with the wider primary and secondary care system
  • Using “see and treat” processes rather what might be called "triage and wait"
  • Developing a consistent approach to governance that looks at the totality of care provided to patients
  • Collecting feedback consistently and coherently and acting on what it tells you
  • Describing urgent care services accurately, using a term that will be understood by patients


The report is available here:  Discussion paper:  Urgent Care Centres - What works best?

Urgent Care Centres

About Us

The Primary Care Foundation supports the development of best practice in primary and urgent care. We apply our work shaping national policy to support local change. We use information to create understanding, driving improvements in care, reducing unnecessary variation across organisations and between clinicians and developing practical tools for front-line staff in general practice and urgent care.