The petition of residents of Leicester East,
Declares that Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group plans to remove the existing walk-in element of the service from Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre which would have a detrimental effect on the local community and other members of the public who use the “out of hours” facility, especially on the elderly and vulnerable people who do not have easy access to transport but are able to walk to the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group to reconsider their decision to remove the existing walk-in element of the service from the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Keith Vaz, Official Report, 01 March 2017; Vol. 622, c. 392.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (David Mowat):
The reconfiguration of health services is a matter for the NHS locally. Any changes to local services should be led by clinicians and patients, not from the top down. It is for NHS commissioners and service providers to work together with patients and the public in bringing forward proposals that will improve the quality and sustainability of healthcare services.
Although this is a local responsibility, the Government have set out strengthened criteria that it expects NHS service changes to meet. Namely, they should have support from commissioners, focus on improving patient outcomes, consider patient choice, and be based on sound clinical evidence
Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) advises that the contract for the walk-in centre at the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre is due to expire on 30 September 2017. The CCG has recently engaged with the public on proposals to replace the service with a community healthcare hub, located at either the Merlyn Vaz Centre or on the Leicester General Hospital site.
On 7 April 2017, following review of the consultation responses received, the CCG announced that the community healthcare hub will be based at the-Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre for at least the next three years.
The CCG further advises that there are already three healthcare hubs in the city that have been in place as a pilot service since September 2015; these became permanent services from 1 April 2017.
From 1 October 2017 the new service at the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre will offer urgent GP and nurse appointments from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year. Both pre-bookable and walk-in appointments will be offered, although the CCG and service provider will encourage as many patients as possible to book into guaranteed slots. It is hoped this will help reduce waiting times and make maximum use of available GP and nurse time.
The contract, which is subject to procurement, will be for an initial period of three years with an option to extend for up to two further years. The existing provider of the walk-in service will continue to offer unchanged services for patients until its contract ends on 30 September 2017.