PORTSMOUTH City Council has given its backing to a campaign to save a health centre from closure.
The authority’s Tory group is now calling on Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group not to close the Guildhall Walk clinic.
The centre is a valuable resource for the city, providing appointment-free access to medical services and hosting a substantial GP practice.Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council
It comes after Lalys Pharmacy, also in Guildhall Walk, presented a petition signed by more than 5,300 people to health bosses against the plans.
A consultation is being carried out to determine whether the centre should move to the St Mary’s Treatment Centre in Milton Road – more than two miles away.
Tory deputy council leader Councillor Luke Stubbs said: ‘The centre is a valuable resource for the city, providing appointment-free access to medical services and hosting a substantial GP practice.
‘Being in a visible location in the city centre the doctors’ practice is the preferred option for many residents and students.
‘The council therefore feels the best answer is to maintain a service and it asks the board of the Clinical Commissioning Group to act to keep the Guildhall Walk centre open.’
The Lib Dems have been running a campaign to protect the centre, and brought the matter to the full council in a bid to get a commitment that everyone opposed the plans.
The Tory administration was criticised as it originally chose not to express a view over the proposals.
Tory leader, Cllr, Donna Jones and Labour group leader, Cllr, John Ferrett, chairman of the council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel, had warned it would ‘pre-empt’ the final outcome.
Lib Dem councillor Ben Dowling welcomed the change of heart, saying: ‘We are very grateful the council is finally listening after many, many months of us campaigning for this.
‘We have been saying since early October the importance of keeping the Guildhall Walk walk-in centre.’
In response, Cllr Stubbs said: ‘We have reflected further on the impact over this change, and have decided that it would be appropriate to make a comment.’