NHS England publishes monthly data on the number of attendances at Type 3 accident and emergency (A&E) Departments (Other A&E Departments/Minor Injury Units/ Walk-In Centres/Urgent Treatment Centres). This data shows the proportion of attendances at these units is increasing over time, compared with total attendances at all A&E departments. In 2007-08, the proportion of attendances at Type 3 units was 26% and this has grown to 33% in 2017-18. The number of total attendances at Type 3 departments has increased from 5 million in 2007-08 to 7.8 million in 2017-18.
One of the aims of NHS England’s Urgent and Emergency Care review is to make access to urgent and emergency services clearer for patients and to remove the mix of walk-in centres, minor injuries units and urgent care centres, in addition to numerous general practitioner health centres and surgeries offering varied levels of core and extended service. To address this, new urgent treatment centres, which are community and primary care facilities providing access to urgent treatment for a local population, are being introduced which will standardise this range of options and simplify the system so patients know where to go and have clarity of which services are on offer. NHS England has set out a core set of standards for urgent treatment centres to establish as much commonality as possible.
As a result of this standardisation, NHS England expect to see reduced attendance at A&E and simplified access, as well as improved patient convenience with patients no longer feeling the need to travel to and queue at A&E.