PLANS to axe a walk-in health centre have met with fierce opposition, with claims the decision to lose the service is already ‘a done deal’.
Despite the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group promising a three-month consultation will be held over the future of the Guildhall walk-in centre, doubts have been raised over whether it can be saved.
I think it’s a done deal, it doesn’t matter what anyone else saysCouncillor Lynne Stagg
The Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre in Guildhall Walk has a walk-in service and a GP surgery.
The CCG, which pays for the service, is looking at making a change as the contract is up for renewal in March next year. There are four options, which were presented to Portsmouth City Council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel yesterday.
One option is for the services to remain as they are, while the other three options all involve the walk-in centre element moving to St Mary’s Treatment Centre in Milton Road.
Those three choices for the GP practice, which has 6,000 registered patients, would be for it to stay where it is, move to another location, or it close entirely and patients register elsewhere.
The CCG said plans to move it are being discussed as surveys carried out found patients were confused by the different services the walk-in centres offer, and that it is not a cost-cutting exercise.
But Councillor Lynne Stagg said: ‘I think it’s a done deal – it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.
‘It’s totally wrong. I haven’t spoken to anyone who thinks this move is a good idea.
‘A lot of people don’t have cars and out-of-hours public transport is reduced, so it will be difficult for people to access it – it’s completely mad.’
Councillor David Keast, who represents Havant Borough Council, said: ‘This doesn’t seem right and there are a lot of contradictions.
‘There’s high satisfaction levels from the people who use it.
‘Moving it will be a disadvantage, it doesn’t make sense to move it.’
The Guildhall walk-in centre has been praised for providing GP appointments from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week – which is similar to a government plan for a seven-day NHS.
Katie Hovenden, director of professional and clinical development for the CCG, said: ‘Seven-day access isn’t about access to your own GP, but for everyone to have access to medical services.’
The CCG’s governing board will need to approve the options at its meeting on Wednesday, ahead of a consultation.