MORE than 5,300 people have signed a petition against plans to close the Guildhall Walk health centre in Portsmouth.
The nearby Lalys Pharmacy ran the petition and staff handed it over to the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, which is considering moving the centre to the St Mary’s Treatment Centre in Milton Road, over two miles away.
It’s really unfair and completely illogicalAri Lolis
Pharmacy director Dr Raj Laly said the petition showed the strength of feeling against the closure.
He said: ‘It would be a real shame. This is a buzzing local area where there are vulnerable patients, tourists and a university population.
‘If you move the health centre to the outskirts of the city, that population’s needs are not being met. There’s no pharmaceutical provision there – it’s difficult for people to get there by public transport, and in terms of parking.’
Dr Laly said the pharmacy opened five years ago to support the health centre.
He said jobs at the pharmacy would be at risk if the centre moved.
He said: ‘We would hope there would be no job losses but it does put a risk on the business.’
Pharmacy manager Ari Loli called the proposal ‘crazy’. He said: ‘It’s really unfair and completely illogical. The surgery is open 365 days a year and it’s so helpful, not just for local people but for people who are here on holiday are well.’
A three-month consultation period launched by the CCG three months ago ends on Friday, and the group is expected to make a decision on the plan in mid-March.
The CCG is considering four options for the future of the centre. One is for all services to stay where they are, while the other three involve the walk-in centre moving to St Mary’s.
The 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 close it entirely and have patients register elsewhere.
Officer says move would simplify health
THE clinical commissioning group’s chief operating officer Innes Richens said moving the walk-in centre would simplify the city’s health services.
Mr Richens said: ‘At the moment we have a GP-led walk-in service, and a nurse-led walk-in service, within two miles of each other – our preferred option is to bring them together, to create a single walk-in centre which offers a complete, straightforward choice for anyone needing NHS care quickly, but who doesn’t need A&E. All feedback we receive will be considered.’
More information about the plan can be found at portsmouthccg.nhs.uk