Pharmacy boss said he would seek a judicial review if a decision is made to close a walk-in centre

The Guildhall Square walk-in health centre
The Guildhall Square walk-in health centre
Paige Howitt

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  • Consultation taking place on the future of the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre
  • Pharmacy believes it is illogical to move it
  • Commissioners say views are being sought and the move is not about cost-cutting
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A DOCTOR who runs a family pharmacy chain said he would seek a judicial review should a decision be made to close a Portsmouth walk-in medical centre.

The warning has come from Dr Raj Laly, who owns the Lalys Pharmacy store in Commercial Road, in Guildhall Square.

Dr Raj Laly

Dr Raj Laly

The pharmacy is the closest to the Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre, which is home to a walk-in centre and a GP surgery.

Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, which pays for health services, is seeking opinion on whether it would be a good idea to close the walk-in centre and move it to St Mary’s Treatment Centre, in Milton Road, Milton.

And it is looking at three options for the registered GP service in the building – keep it there, move the practice or close it entirely and tell patients to go to other surgeries in the city.

Dr Laly says it would be wrong to move either service and says he would go to the courts should a decision be made to move it.

We would seek a judicial review should the decision be made to close it

Dr Raj Laly

‘This service has been running very successfully and it’s just so illogical for it to be moved,’ he said.

‘It’s taking pressure off A&E and even GP practices that can’t offer same-day appointments.

‘The service is well-used by vulnerable people, students, those who work locally and even visitors into the city.

‘You can access it via train, bus and on foot – St Mary’s isn’t as easy to get to.

‘I question why the CCGs have left it until the summer to consult when most of the students are away and you only need to look at the survey questions to see they are loaded.

‘We would seek a judicial review should the decision be made to close it.’

The CCG said it is considering the move as the contract on the health centre is due to run out in March next year, and previous feedback has told them people find having two walk-in centres in the city confusing.

It has been stressed that no GPs will vote on the decision and it is not a cost-cutting exercise.

Innes Richens, chief operating officer for the CCG, said: ‘We haven’t developed any formal proposals yet, let alone made any decisions, and so it seems rather early to be coming to conclusions about whether we have followed the right processes or not.

‘We recognise the future of Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre is an important issue for many people, and the decisions we make must be right.

‘To that end we are committed to seeking the views of as many people as we possibly can – the more people we can hear from, the more we learn, and the more confidence we can have in the decisions which are ultimately made.

‘So far, we have gone to great lengths to seek out the views of everyone who is registered at the practice – by letter, text message, via our websites and social media, and by contacting media – and that process is by no means complete.

‘In addition we are actively seeking the views of other people who might be affected by any change, should that happen – this includes anyone who uses the walk-in service, as well as carers, students, people registered as homeless, people with substance abuse problems, and anyone else who wishes to have their views considered.’

To express views on the walk-in centre plans, go to surveymonkey.com/r/portsmouthwalk-in
Only those registered to the GP practice can give their views on the future of the surgery – go to surveymonkey.com/r/ghwregisteredpatients