Recovering cancer patient says under-threat Portsmouth health centre saved her life

The Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre in  Guildhall Walk

The Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre in Guildhall Walk

Portsmouth clinicians in need of people for study

  • Patient Liz was able to get an appointment at her practice on a Sunday
  • Councillor and MP speak in favour of keeping centre in Guildhall Walk
  • Consultation due to start on walk-in centre’s future
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A WOMAN says a health centre facing the axe played a vital a part in saving her life.

Liz Williams was able to get an appointment at her GP surgery, which is based at the under-threat Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre on a Sunday morning.

Getting an appointment on the same day and on a Sunday really helped save my life – I want this centre to stay open

Liz Williams, 47

The previous night the 47-year-old felt pain in her left breast and wanted to get it checked out.

Liz, of St Jude’s Close, Southsea, said: ‘I was able to see a nurse who said she could feel something there and that I needed to get it checked further.’

Tests at Queen Alexandra Hospital in October last year found a cancerous lump in her left breast.

After two lumpectomies, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, education programme manager Liz is now cancer-free.

She added: ‘I moved to Southsea last July from out of the area. Before then I struggled to get an appointment at my surgery.

‘Getting an appointment on the same day and on a Sunday really helped save my life – I want this centre to stay open.’

The centre in Guildhall Walk has a walk-in service alongside the GP surgery.

The Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, which pays for the service, is looking at making a change as the contract is up for renewal in March next year, and has four options.

One is for the services to remain as they are, while the other three options involve the walk-in centre moving to St Mary’s Treatment Centre in Milton Road.

Those three choices for the GP practice would be for it to stay where it is, move to another location, or it close entirely and its patients register elsewhere.

A 12-week consultation is due to start this month.

Councillor Yahiya Chowdhury, who represents Charles Dickens ward where the walk-in centre is, said: ‘The centre is a lifesaver for the community.

‘A lot of people will try once for a doctor, and if on a Monday morning the practice is busy, then they won’t try again.

‘This could cause them big trouble in the future if they are not catching health problems soon enough.’

And Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said the central location of the site is vital.

She said: ‘Seeing a GP at the weekend is important and something the government is working towards.

‘Time is crucial for people and it’s often difficult to fit in appointments, so the weekend is important and this case highlights just that.

‘I know the commissioners want to move this to St Mary’s, however it’s harder to get to because of parking and public transport.

‘If the centre were to move there then those issues would need to solved.’

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