Andy Burnham writes to NHS to protest against walk-in centre closure

Exterior of the NHS Worcester Walk in Health Centre, Farrier Street, Worcester. Pic Jonathan Barry 10.4.14 1514571103 (5345044)

John Anyon 01/05/14 1814587503 Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham visit to Worcester on Thursday....................Andy Burnam with Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Worcester, Joy Squires and members of the public at the Whiteho

First published in News

SHADOW health secretary Andy Burnham MP has written to NHS England to protest against the closure of Worcester’s walk-in health centre.

The walk-in element of the centre in Farrier Street – which is used by 15,000 patients a year – could close in August under an extensive reorganisation of health services in the county.

But critics have said the plans will place even more pressure on A&E at a time when departments are already under significant strain.

Mr Burnham – who served as health secretary in Gordon Brown’s government – penned the letter to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens after visiting Worcester last month.

The MP for Leigh said in his letter he was concerned the proper guidelines regarding consultation into the plans had not been followed.

“The main reason for me referring this to you is that I am concerned that established consultation processes may not have been followed in this case which could set a worrying precedent in the NHS,” he wrote.

“I recently visited the area and was made aware of deep public concern about the proposals.”

The plans are part of the Worcestershire Urgent Care Strategy, a major revamp of medical services in the county which includes creating a new Urgent Care Centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, which health bosses have said will make the walk-in centre redundant.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester Cllr Joy Squires said: “I am extremely grateful for Andy Burnham’s support on this crucial issue as are the people of Worcester."

Chief clinical officer with South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Carl Ellson said the increasing amount of people registering with the centre as their GP practice had made it increasingly difficult for walk-in patients to see a doctor.

“We’re proposing to re-allocate the money that is currently used to fund the walk-in element of the centre to provide additional resources at the front door of our busy A&E department," he said.

“We wish to set up a new Urgent Care Centre, where patients can be treated by an experienced nurse, GP or emergency doctor, without an appointment, for minor illnesses and injuries.

"Myself and other local GP colleagues who work with the CCG believe this will be a more effective use of NHS resources and will actually help to take the pressure off our busy A&E department.

“We’ve recently completed a nine week consultation on the proposed changes to local urgent care services and are currently reviewing the responses before making a final decision.

“Our local countywide health scrutiny committee were pleased with the work that we have done on this, and commented that it was a model exercise for future engagement work.”

The plans have been developed by a collaboration of health bodies in the county and are due to be finalised soon. If they go ahead the centre, which has 4,400 registered patients, will remain open as a GP surgery.

Comments (3)

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2:25pm Wed 11 Jun 14

mrwrighty says...

These services come and go at the whim of those in charge without thinking about the consequences. If this centre does indeed cut the load on the A&E department at the hospital then surely that is good value for money. It must be cheaper to run this than the A&E department so it is better management of scarce resources. More often than not it is accountants asking for closure because they see the bottom line cost not the benefits of such a service.
These services come and go at the whim of those in charge without thinking about the consequences. If this centre does indeed cut the load on the A&E department at the hospital then surely that is good value for money. It must be cheaper to run this than the A&E department so it is better management of scarce resources. More often than not it is accountants asking for closure because they see the bottom line cost not the benefits of such a service. mrwrighty
  • Score: 3

2:31pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Jabbadad says...

In this case it's the new CCG's now in charge of the NHS who are looking at the £1 million plus funding of this Walk In Health Centre to use at the Worcester Royal.
The numbers using the health Centre says it all about the success.
Never mind the next nearest one is in Birmingham.
In this case it's the new CCG's now in charge of the NHS who are looking at the £1 million plus funding of this Walk In Health Centre to use at the Worcester Royal. The numbers using the health Centre says it all about the success. Never mind the next nearest one is in Birmingham. Jabbadad
  • Score: 1

2:55pm Wed 11 Jun 14

Deskin says...

This unit in the centre of town has been a life line for myself when I could not get an appointment at my GP with out taking time off work, no GP that I am aware of is open 7 days a week!
This unit in the centre of town has been a life line for myself when I could not get an appointment at my GP with out taking time off work, no GP that I am aware of is open 7 days a week! Deskin
  • Score: 5

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