A GREAT-grandmother who credits Worcester’s walk-in health centre with saving her life has called for the closure of the facility to be halted.
When 85-year-old Audrey Hobbs visited the centre, in Farrier Street, last year with a pain in her chest, staff realised she was suffering a heart attack and called an ambulance.
Mrs Hobbs has hit out at an announcement made earlier this month that the centre would close to walk-in patients in August as part of an extensive revamp of urgent care services in the county.
It will remain open as a GP surgery to registered patients.
Mrs Hobbs, of Springfield Road, Worcester, said she began to feel unwell and visited Lloyds Pharmacy in St Peter’s Drive, where she was advised to visit the centre.
“They saw me quickly and diagnosed me with a heart attack and called an ambulance right away,” she said.
“Thankfully it all worked out well.”
Mrs Hobbs was treated at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and made a full recovery, which she puts down in no small part to the quick thinking of the centre’s staff.
“I’m so glad they were there – they saved my life,” she said. “I’m very lucky I’m still here today.
“If I hadn’t gone there I don’t know what would have happened.
“I wish they wouldn’t close the centre, we need it in Worcester.”
Mrs Hobbs contacted your Worcester News after reading our front page story from Tuesday, July 22 about Jenny Willis, who visited the centre in April 2011 after she was unable to see her doctor and was diagnosed with a potentially fatal bleed on the brain.
The closure of the centre is part of the multi-agency Worcestershire Urgent Care Strategy, with health bosses claiming it had become so busy the walk-in element had become difficult to sustain.
A new urgent care centre is also due to be set up at Worcestershire Royal Hospital as part of the strategy, which health bosses claim will make the walk-in centre redundant.
When the closure was confirmed Anthony Kelly, chairman of the NHS South Worcester CCG, said: “This is not a cost-cutting exercise.
The funding for the walk-in service is going to be reinvested back into local health services.
“We believe that developments like the Urgent Care Centre in Worcester and greater role for Minor Injury Units will be a much more effective use of NHS resources and will help with some of the challenges we currently face such as reducing the pressure on our busy A&E department in Worcester.”
But critics, including shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worcester Cllr Joy Squires, say the closure will put additional pressure on the Royal’s already-stretched A&E department.