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Shadow health boss backs walk-in campaign

Worcester Editorial 17th Jun, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

SHADOW Health Secretary Andy Burnham has written to NHS England in an attempt to save Worcester Walk-in Centre from closure.

The centre on Farrier Street is currently at risk of being shut down after South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) put forward proposals, which could see it become a GP surgery from August.

The move has sparked anger from users, with some claiming they had not been consulted about the changes.

It has led hundreds of people to back a campaign urging health chiefs to re-think their plans and now Mr Burnham has called on Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, to intervene.

“The main reason for me referring this to you is that I am concerned that established consultation processes may not have been followed in this case which could set a worrying precedent in the NHS,” Mr Burnham said.

“I recently visited the area and was made aware of deep public concern about the proposals.  I was told by people at the meeting that Monitor advice relating to Walk-In-Centre consultations was not followed.”

During his visit to Worcester last month, Mr Burnham described the proposals as ‘flawed’ and vowed to ‘stop them in their tracks’.

Coun Joy Squires, who set up the Save Worcester Walk-in Centre petition, which secured more than 1,000 signatures, said: “I am extremely grateful for Andy Burnham’s support on this crucial issue, as are the people of Worcester.”

The Labour parliamentary candidate for the city also revealed 858 people were forced to wait for more than four hours in Worcestershire A&E departments last month, which she said could increase if the walk-in centre closed.

“In the light of these shocking findings I urge the Government and local health bosses to do the right thing and keep our walk-in centre open,” Coun Squires added.

“Worcester Walk-in-Centre is used by 15,000 people each year, if it closes many of those people will have no other option than to go to A&E.”

However, Dr Carl Ellson, chief clinical officer for South Worcestershire CCG, said he believed the creation of a Urgent Care Centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital where patients can be treated for minor illnesses and injuries would be a more effective use of NHS resources and would take pressure off the A&E department.

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