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East of England Liberal Democrats

Mayor Dave Writes: 'Vital' NHS Walk-In Centre Must Not Close

August 10, 2018 2:09 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Putnoe Medical CentreIn his column for the August edition of the Bulletin, Mayor Dave Hodgson encouraged people to take part in the consultation on NHS Commissioners' plans to close Putnoe Walk-In Centre. Since then, the Commissioners have made the sudden, bizarre decision to close the consultation 9 days early. You can read more details of this surprise announcement here.

In his article, Mayor Dave makes the case that the new Urgent Treatment Centre planned at Bedford Hospital is needed in addition to the Walk-In Centre, not instead of it, and stressed the importance of as many people as possible having their say through the consultation on the closure plans, which had been due to close on August 19th, but has been brought to an abrupt end today.

You can read the August Bedford Borough edition of the bulletin in full online here. Meanwhile, the full text of Mayor Dave's column is below:

NHS Commissioners are consulting on their plan to close Putnoe Walk-In Centre, and it is crucial that people take part and oppose the loss of this important facility. The walk-in centre is very well-used and serves a vital function, and the campaign to save it depends on those who value it speaking up through the consultation.

The Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) extended the Walk-In Centre's contract for six months from April. This followed a robust campaign against its closure as the expiry of its previous contract approached. We need to reject the current closure plans even more overwhelmingly if we are to save it.

The CCG had announced a plan to provide a 'like-for-like' walk-in centre replacement at the former North Wing hospital site in Bedford from October. Instead, however, the CCG is now planning to close the walk-in centre altogether in May 2019. Before that, from October its weekday hours will also reduce significantly, from 8am-6pm to 8am-2pm.

They say that the Walk-In Centre will be replaced by the new Urgent Treatment Centre at Bedford Hospital from October. However, with Bedford Hospital A&E under massive pressure as it is, and the current walk-in centre seeing 35,000 patients a year, it is clear that we need both services.

The CCG previously told the Council's Health Scrutiny committee that this consultation would run well into the Autumn. In fact, they are closing it on August 19th. It is therefore urgent that this closure is not snuck through, and that everyone who does not want to lose the walk-in centre says so via this consultation. You can find it at www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/page/?id=5469.

I believe this is a clear reduction in services for local people, and strongly encourage everyone who agrees to have your say.

Dave Hodgson

In addition to completing the consultation via the above link, you can also sign Mayor Dave's petition against the closure here: www.bedfordlibdems.org.uk/walkincentre