Thursday, 10 October 2013

Closure of the GP walk-in centre at Accrington Victoria Consultation

The East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group are currently reviewing GP surgeries in the constituency. Part of the review includes the GP walk-in centre at Accrington Victoria, I must stress this is not the Minor Injuries Unit.

There were over 33,000 visits to the GP service last year (up from 24,000 the previous year) and I think this must reflect the difficulty that some people have in accessing their local GPs at convenient times to them. Following the creation of Clinical Commissioning Groups – there are over 200 in the country including some in consortia with private health care providers – there is a greater administrative burden on GPs and I can only envisage that an appointment with your local GP will become more difficult.

Results of the GP services study that began in 2010 can be found by following the link and finding your surgery http://practicetool.gp-patient.co.uk/practice. You can see that results for the walk-in centre are better than some of the local surgeries in Hyndburn.

Any loss of any NHS service in the constituency is to be questioned and I fear that the loss of this GP walk-in may result in the withdrawal of other services in the future. Whilst I appreciate that the consortia have been told to make savings, for a new organisation (they only began in April) to be already consulting on a closure of this size does not bode well.

As the health profile for Hyndburn says, Hyndburn has poorer health than the national average, deprivation is higher, and life expectancy is 11.3 years lower for men and 9 years lower for women than the national average. It is clear that we need services to meet the challenges of the borough and wider area.

I am currently working with Lancashire County Council and Hyndburn Leisure to see what leisure and sport services can do to keep people fit and healthy but this can only be achieved if a full range of NHS services are available.

To take part in the consultation, surveys are available from your local surgery, libraries, council buildings and the walk-in centre itself. Or you can call 0800 0322424 or visit www.eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/accrington-health-access-centre

An event is also being held at Accrington Market Hall on October 12, between 10am and 2pm, where the public will be able to talk to health professionals about services.