Chris Kelly (Dudley South) (Con): The Dudley clinical commissioning group is currently consulting on changes to urgent care provision in the borough of Dudley, with the public consultation closing on 24 December. As a result of proposals by the CCG to close Dudley borough walk-in centre at Holly Hall clinic on Stourbridge road in my constituency, a number of concerned constituents have been in touch with me.
Accident and emergency services across the country are feeling the pressure caused by patients arriving at A and E departments because they feel they have no viable alternative. The Government have been clear that patients should be able to access good quality, out-of-hours NHS services without having to go to A and E departments. To support that, they have recently taken action to expand the role of GPs and to improve out-of-hours care. They have announced nationwide pilots to extend GP opening hours from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week, and agreed a new GP contract that will give millions of elderly people a dedicated GP who is personally accountable for their care.
The Government have also maintained that it is up to NHS commissioners to secure high-quality services that will meet the health care needs of local communities, driven by what is in the best interests of patients. The Holly Hall walk-in clinic provides a vital out-of-hours service to patients when they cannot see their GP, and many Dudley residents have expressed their support for the centre to remain open. It is unclear whether the out-of-hours services on which hard-working people rely would be maintained if the centre were to close. It is therefore my belief, and that of the petitioners, that closing the walk-in centre would not be in the best interests of Dudley patients.
The petition states:
The Petition of residents of Dudley South,
Declares that the Petitioners believe that proposed closure of the Dudley Borough Walk-in Centre at Holly Hall Clinic, 174 Stourbridge Road, Dudley DY1 2ER, by Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group should not go ahead; further that the Petitioners believe that, with its 08:00 to 20:00 opening hours, seven days a week, the walk-in centre currently provides a vital out-of-hours service for hardworking people in the Dudley Borough and the wider Black Country, especially on weekday evenings and at weekends; further that the Petitioners believe that the accessibility of the walk-in centre service contributes significantly to a reduction in the number of Accident and Emergency visits which reduces pressure on local A&E services such as those at Russells Hall Hospital.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to urge Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group to keep the Dudley Borough Walk-in Centre open.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.