TODAY is the start of a three-month consultation to see if a Portsmouth walk-in centre service should be axed.
The Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which pays for health services in the area, is asking people to give their views on the proposals.
It’s absolutely vital that people take part in the consultation.Katie Hovenden, director of professional and clinical development for the CCG
A number of drop-in sessions have been listed, and a website and booklet have been created, outlining the plans.
Katie Hovenden, director of professional and clinical development for the CCG, said: ‘It’s absolutely vital that people take part in the consultation.
‘We want to hear from people who have used the centre, those who think they might use it and we will be communicating with people through different means.’
The Guildhall Walk Healthcare Centre has a walk-in service and a GP surgery.
The CCG is looking at making a change as the contract is up for renewal in March next year. There are four options. One option is for the services to remain as they are, while the other three options all involve the walk-in centre element moving to St Mary’s Treatment Centre in Milton Road.
Those three choices for the GP practice, which has 7,000 registered patients, would be for it to stay where it is, move to another location, or close entirely and patients register elsewhere.
The CCG’s preferred option is to move the walk-in centre to St Mary’s, and for the GP practice to move to a city centre location, such as the John Pound Centre, in Queen Street, or the Somers Town Central hub.
The CCG said plans to move it are being discussed as surveys carried out found patients were confused by the different services the walk-in centres offer, and that it is not a cost-cutting exercise.
Ms Hovenden added: ‘We are listening to people and have been engaging with people for the past 18 months. We are absolutely committed to providing the care for the entire population and not just those in the city centre.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond is also encouraging people to take part.
She said: ‘It’s crucial people respond to this. It’s essential this service remains in the city centre.’
How to get involved
DATES have been given for the first lot of information drop-in sessions for the Guildhall walk-in centre consultations.
The Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, which pays for the service and is holding the consultation, said further dates and locations will be added.
The first drop in sessions take place at the Cascades shopping centre, from 10am to 3pm, on November 26, December 18, January 12, and February 19.
Staff will be on-hand at a static stand in the Central Library on November 27, December 3 and 15, January 13, 21, and 25. For further details go to portsmouthccg.nhs.uk/guildhallwalk