MORE than one in ten patients in Worcester have faced a wait of more than a week to see their GP.
An NHS survey found 11.59 per cent of patients in South Worcestershire were told they would have to wait seven days or more for an appointment with their doctor in the last year.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester Cllr Joy Squires laid the blame at the feet of David Cameron’s government and said she was concerned the closure of the Worcester Walk-in Health Centre this month would make the situation worse.
“The thousands of patients who used the Walk-In Centre will be forced to return to GP practices which were already struggling to give them the appointments they needed – or they’ll end up at A&E adding to the pressures there,” she said.
“I’m backing Labour’s plans to scrap David Cameron's new NHS market rules and invest the savings in helping people get a GP appointment within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it."
The centre in Farrier Street is still open to registered patients but from the start of this month is only accepting walk-in patients between 1pm and 6pm from Monday to Friday and 8am until midday on Saturdays.
From the end of October it will stop accepting walk-in patients entirely.
The closure is part of the Worcestershire Urgent Care Strategy, an extensive revamp of healthcare in the county. Health bosses have said the centre had become so busy the walk-in element had become unsustainable and a new urgent care centre to be set up at Worcestershire Royal Hospital will make it redundant.
Speaking when the closure was confirmed, chairman of the NHS South Worcester Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Anthony Kelly denied it was a cost-cutting exercise and said money saved would be re-invested back into health services in the county.
But critics have said the closure will drive more patients to already-stretched A&E departments.
Worcestershire Health and Care Trust runs 24-hour Minor Injury Units at Kidderminster Hospital and in Tenbury as well as similar facilities in Malvern, Evesham and Bromsgrove, which are not open 24 hours a day.
For health advice call NHS 111 or in an emergency always call 999.