Walk in centre set for 6-month lifeline
THE Accrington Victoria Hospital walk in centre could now stay open until at least ‘spring 2018’ with health bosses seeking a FIFTH stay of execution.
The GP centre was due to close at the end of this month to be replaced with new ‘health hubs’ run by a consortium of GPs.
However, the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the centre could now stay open for a further six months.
The walk-in centre was originally earmarked for closure in October 2015 but this has now been postponed FIVE times.
The Observer and Hyndburn council launched a joint campaign in 2013 to save the facility from closure with nearly 6,000 people signing a petition.
Jackie Hanson, CCG director of quality and chief nurse, said the postponement would help address high demand levels later in the year.
She said: “We have been listening to providers, partners and patients who have told us that while they understand the rationale for its closure, they felt it would
be better to close the walk-in centre in spring 2018 rather than during this autumn, as this is a period which has typically become a period of exceptionally high demand for all health services. “On this basis the Primary Care Committee at East Lancashire CCG has given the go ahead for talks to be held with a view to extending the opening of the walk-in-centre at Hyndburn. “This would be for an additional six months past the originally planned closure of September 30, 2017. This would enable us to manage the transition from one service model to a different model in a managed and safe way, and which will ensure there is sufficient capacity across the health system to deal with an increase in activity over the winter. The CCG will keep everyone updated on the outcomes of these discussions.”
Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patients Voice Group, said he feels sorry for the staff at the walk-in centre who have ‘had the Sword of Damocles hanging over them’ and fears local A&E services won’t be able to cope when the centre eventually closes.
He said: “It is worrying that whatever happens, whether they give us a six -month or 12-month extension, one of these days that service will close and my worry is that our A&E services in East Lancashire are on the verge of tipping over.”
Accrington Victoria Hospital walk-in centre could stay open for another six months