Walk in cen­tre set for 6-month life­line

Accrington Observer - - NEWS -

JON MACPHER­SON

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

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