UPDATE: It has now received the thumbs down from the two local patient groups. Patient Voice and the Patient Participation Group who have similar concerns as I do.
The CCG's explanation is on their website and I have copied and pasted it all at the foot along with with their email, their website, their postal address (at the bottom) and importantly their online questionnaire for you to register your views.
(Please also take my two question survey which is bit fairer and more balanced. Please distribute the link on social media.)
Question: Do you think the closure of Accrington Victoria Walk in Centre, to be replaced by a GPs telephone hub service (with some face to face by appointment) will provide you with a better patient service? Answer hereThe CCG case for closing Accrington Walk in Centre. Much of the reasoning in the press release on their website is by the Chair of the CCG, Dr Huxley who quotes a recent (and little known) CCG survey of Hyndburn patients as the justification. I have major concerns about how this survey was conducted, the questions asked and to whom, when it took place and how it is being presented now. I received a reply from the CCG on 26 Nov 2013 that referred to a similar survey. Reading the quotes in the current press release does not inspire confidence in the results.
The main problem is that it conflates two issues for the purpose of benefiting the CCG closure proposal. It states that "[The CCG] know that many people want later appointments, to fit in with work, other commitments or if they just find it difficult to get an appointment during working hours. We also know that some people would prefer to see a doctor at the weekend." Of course Hyndburn patients would respond by saying they want their GP access to be improved! Why would you not want better access? People are frustrated with the difficulty in getting GP appointments but at no point have they ever said they want the Walk in Centre to close. Rather the opposite. They like the Walk in Centre because of frustration at GP access. The absence of this question on the Walk in Centre closure undermines the CCG's credibility.
My own view of NHS restructuring. The CCG are being forced to cut back and save money. The CCG spend 80% of all NHS money. CCG's are groups of local GPs who buy (and pay for) NHS services collectively - from Royal Blackburn for example. Some Hyndburn GPs have previously been rated as amongst the poorest in East Lancashire by the Primary Care Trust (predecessor to the CCG) (see chart on page 17 of this HBC report in 2013 on local health care and Walk in Centre) and the Care Quality Commission (and here) an improvement programme was brought in to improve standards.