A private hospital in Harrow has opened the UK's first self-paying emergency department.

The BMI Clementine Churchill Hospital, in Sudbury Hill, launched a 24-hour Emergency Care Centre on May 6.

Patients requiring treatments for non-critical accidents and illnesses can walk into the centre without an appointment.

For an initial assessment fee of £47 residents can be seen within 15 minutes, but there are a further charges for diagnostic tests and treatment.

Rachel Hollway, the co-ordinator of the project, said: "We had 25 people in the centre in the first five days.

"Some of these people had come over from local NHS hospitals where they had been waiting for over three hours and they were seen by us quicker."

The new service will be situated less than two miles away from the casualty department at Northwick Park hospital, in Watford Road.

Patients can seek treatment at the BMI Clementine Churchill Hospital for fractures, chest pains, respiratory conditions and ear, nose and eye conditions, as well as other general aliments that need urgent care.

Adults and children over three years can access the service seven days a week and speak to consultants.

The service is specifically for minor injuries and people requiring treatment for major conditions will be stablised and then transferred to other hospitals.

For more information, call 020 8872 3999.