HOMELESS people in Worcester may soon benefit from a one-day-a-week drop-in medical service.
Concerns had been raised that closing the walk-in element of the Worcester Walk-In Health Centre in Farrier Street could mean homeless people in the city – who often cannot register at doctor’s surgeries – would find it difficult to get medical treatment.
But at a meeting of the South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group on Thursday, chief clinical officer Dr Carl Ellson said the organisation was looking into setting up a drop-in service one day a week at the Maggs Day
Centre in Deansway.
“We are aware of the impact this could have on the homeless people of Worcester,” he said.
“We are in discussion with the city’s homelessness team about the possibility of commissioning a service for these people. One of the things our fact-finding has shown is a scatter-gun approach to the homeless.
“Some practices accept them and some don’t.”
The plans are part of the Worcestershire Urgent Care Strategy, a revamp of health services in the county which is expected to be completed in July.
The proposal to close the centre has faced fierce opposition throughout Worcester, with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for the city, Cllr Joy Squires, collecting 1,048 signatures on a petition opposing the closure.
Cllr Squires said, despite a nine-week public consultation, many people in the city did not feel their views had been canvassed.
“Clearly the closure of the walk-in centre is something which is of great importance to thousands of people in Worcester,” she said.
“They have not been asked about the closure and many homeless are being told they will need to go back to their GP, but the whole point of using the walk-in centre is they can’t get GP appointments.”
But the CCG’s director of strategy, David Mehaffey, said the consultation
into the plans had included the chance to provide feedback about the walk-in centre proposal.
“We never looked at the closure of the walk-in centre in isolation,” he said.
If the plans go ahead, the centre – which currently deals with 15,000
inquiries a year – will remain open only as a GP surgery from August.