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House of Commons Hansard
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Proposed Closure of Accrington Victoria NHS walk-in centre
16 July 2018
Volume 645

The petition of residents of Hyndburn,

Declares that the petitioners are committed to defending NHS services in Hyndburn; and further that the walk-in service based at Accrington Victoria Hospital is a vital community health resource which must remain open, and that other NHS services in the area are being run down.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure that arrangements are put in place for the NHS in East Lancashire to ensure that the Accrington Victoria Hospital walk-in service remains open and that the closure of other NHS services in the area are halted.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Graham P. Jones , Official Report, 2 May 2018; Vol. 640, c. 426 .]

[P002146]

Observations from the Minister for Health (Stephen Barclay):

The reconfiguration of local health services is a matter for the NHS. Service changes should be led by clinicians and be in the best interests of patients, not driven from the top down.

Following a three-month public consultation, East Lancashire clinical commissioning group (CCG) made the decision to close Accrington walk-in centre from 8pm on Sunday 17 June 2018. The other services provided out of Accrington Community Hospital such as the minor injuries unit, X-ray, and in-patient and out-patient services are not affected by the changes and will remain available. A new system of extended GP access has been implemented and patients will not be left without GP provision.

Decisions on the delivery of services are taken locally by those best placed to assess local need. While this is a local matter, the Government are clear that any major changes should meet the Government’s four tests for service change: they should have support from GP commissioners, be based on clinical evidence, demonstrate public and patient engagement, and consider patient choice.

East Lancashire CCG acknowledged that this is a real change for those patients who are used to being able to walk in to see a GP rather than phoning up for an appointment. However, there are a number of alternative options available without the need for a GP appointment that can be accessed directly.

GP services are accessible to patients through their own GP practice from 8am until 6.30pm Monday to Friday as usual. Pre-bookable appointments will also be available in the new extended GP service after 6.30pm on weekdays and at the weekend. These appointments will be booked through the patients’ own GP practice. This new model of extended GP access meets the principles that were tested and supported by local people through a formal consultation process. In addition, NHS 111 can signpost patients to the most appropriate services including an appointment with an out-of-hours GP if required. This means that more residents in East Lancashire will get care closer to home, through bookable appointments and better continuity of care with access to full medical records.

These are included in the public messaging produced by East Lancashire CCG in the following link: https://eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/patient-information/accrington-walk-in-centre.

It is the responsibility of the local NHS to ensure a smooth and safe transition, that contingencies are in place for any impacts of the closure, and that people have continued access to appropriate services that meet local needs.