FRESH concerns have been raised over the bid to move a walk-in health centre out of the middle of Portsmouth.
Healthwatch Portsmouth, a ‘consumer champion’ for patients in the region, has outlined fears over the plan to move the clinic two miles away to the St Mary’s Treatment Centre, in Milton Road.
The organisation has put forward a catalogue of issues – chiefly around transport and parking – calling for answers ahead of a final decision.
It is demanding evidence that there will be enough staff and that facilities are good enough at St Mary’s to cope with the expected increase in the number of patients.
Concerns have been raised over whether there will be enough parking – and questions asked about how more will be provided if need be and how long this will take.
The CCG has been asked what it has done to make bus routes ‘more flexible and tailored to the needs’ of those living near the Guildhall Walk clinic so they can get to the proposed new site.
And the healthwatch group added as part of its response to a consultation over the move, which finished on February 19: ‘What feedback has the CCG collected from particular groups (such as BME communities, disability, student, mental health, young people, older people and carers) in Portsmouth, and how have these responses been taken account of in determining the outcome of this consultation and any subsequent implementation plans?’
Healthwatch’s comments refer to the walk-in service at the health centre. There are also changes planned for the GP surgery in the building.
In response, the CCG says it is arranging for an ‘independent analysis’ of the feedback it has received before taking further action.
Innes Richens, chief operating officer for NHS Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘We have sought views from as many people as possible, and specifically approached some key organisations – such as HealthWatch Portsmouth – to let us know their views, and to highlight the areas they felt were most important to consider.
‘I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to let us know what they think.’
Portsmouth City Council’s Tory administration recently lobbied for the changes to not be made.
More than 5,300 people have also signed a petition presented to health bosses by Lalys Pharmacy, also in Guildhall Walk.