Urgent care centre redirection: evaluation of a nurse-led intervention
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence & Practice    

Urgent care centre redirection: evaluation of a nurse-led intervention

Nicola Groom Advanced nurse practitioner, The Crouch Oak Family Medical Practice, Addlestone, England
Tara Kidd Senior lecturer, Faculty of science, Liverpool John Moores University
Nicola Carey Reader, University of Surrey, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, Guildford, England

Patient redirection can help reduce service demand by providing information about more appropriate services. There is, however, no evidence about the effect of nurse-led patient redirection in urgent care centre settings. The aim of this project was to develop and evaluate a nurse-led patient ‘self-care and redirection first’ (SCARF) intervention in an urgent care centre (UCC).


Adopting a prospective observational design, the intervention was delivered to an opportunity sample of patients who attended a south London hospital UCC, between June and July 2014, and evaluated through patient interviews five to ten days after initial attendance.


118 of the 1,710 people who attended the UCC participated in the intervention, of whom 81 (69%) were redirected to other services or home to self-care, and 37 were transferred to an emergency department. Of the 110 (93.2%) participants who completed the questionnaire, 97.2% were satisfied with the service. Only two accessed different services to those recommended, and 72.2% (n=85) said they would not reattend a UCC for a similar condition.


Treating minor ailments in a UCC is an inefficient use of resources. A nurse-led self-care and redirection intervention can help divert patients with minor ailments to more appropriate services. Further evaluation of the effect of the intervention on service demand and costs is required.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2018.e1768



Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


This project was funded by a grant from Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and supported by the University of Surrey. The authors would like to thank Peter Williams of the University of Surrey for his advice and statistical support. We are also grateful to the provider organisation, Virgin Care, which supported this project, and the nurse who delivered the self-care and redirection first (SCARF) intervention. Many thanks to all those who participated in the study.

Received: 15 August 2017

Accepted: 02 October 2017

Published online: 08 February 2018

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