ONE of the first in a new breed of super clinics will open in Rayners Lane tomorrow.
The Alexandra Avenue Health and Social Care Centre, the borough's first polyclinic, will offer a walk-in service and open in the evenings and on weekends.
Dr David Lloyd, a senior GP at the centre, said: “For me it's tremendously exciting because it incorporates the long term benefit of general practices with the possibility of helping people with acute conditions as well.”
The NHS hopes polyclinics will help bridge the gap between hospitals and GP practices by providing a raft of services under one roof.
But the scheme has proved controversial, with critics saying they will damage the relationship between patients and GPs as well as putting strain on public transport in the areas around them.
Managers at the Alexandra Avenue clinic say they still do not know how many people will use the walk in service but say they hope to work with existing GPs and do not intend to undermine smaller practices.
In the past GPs would have to refer patients to hospitals for operations they could perform themselves with the right equipment and facilities, and the aim of polyclinics is to give them that support.
GPs from surgeries across Harrow will be able to use the clinic to treat their own patients reducing the pressure on Northwick Park.
Will Stoodley, 44, a civil servant, said he needed daily treatment after a brutal New Year's Eve assault at Harrow Bus Station left him with a head injury that was at risk of getting infected.
He said: “The doctor said there's a possibility an infection in the head so close to the brain can lead to meningitis. Every time I came out I had to book an appointment.
“It just struck me that had this place already been open I could just have popped here on a Saturday. To have somewhere you could just turn up ad hoc would be bliss.”
Dr Lloyd said: “I think that a lot of people worry about whether they have something seriously wrong with them and in the vast majority of cases they are problems that can be sorted out in the community.
“A very small number will need hospital treatment so our job is to deal with the 98 per cent and identify the 2 per cent.”
The clinic will be open from 8am to 8pm 365 days a year.