GPs back practice-based walk-in centre move to hospital

GPs have backed a bid to move a practice-based walk-in centre into a West Leicestershire hospital.

The 12-week consultation to move Loughborough’s walk-in centre will close on 11 January.

The walk-in centre has been running since 2000 and is part of the Pinfold Gate GP surgery.

The surgery has been looking to expand so if the move goes ahead it can do so.

The proposal is to move the centre to Loughborough Hospital and create an A&E-type service which will benefit from better facilities and improve urgent care in the area.

West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which will be responsible for ‘buying’ local healthcare from April 2013 has been carrying out the review.

Dr Nick Willmott, a GP and chairman of the group planning the development of urgent care in West Leicestershire, said: ‘There are lots of advantages to the move. About 3,000 patients a year are transferred from the walk-in centre to the hospital because their injuries are too severe for the centre to deal with. So this will save a lot of unwanted journeys and will be cost effective.

'We also want patients to go to their GP more for routine problems rather than using the walk-in centre. GPs in the area have made big changes to be more accessible by extending their surgery hours so there should be no reason why patients cannot get an appointment.

'We will be pushing for improvements to public transport to and from the hospital to make it more convenient for patients.’

LMCs have not raised any objections to the move, which has the full support of local GPs.

Public opinion is mixed; those living near the centre are against the move however a recent survey showed that the majority of people using the centre live outside of Loughborough and have to travel in.

Asked whether the move is a money-saving initiative, Dr Geoff Hanlon, a GP in Loughborough who manages the walk-in-centre, said: ‘Cost is not a consideration at all. It is about improving the quality of care and moving the walk-in centre to the hospital will do this.’

Feedback will be presented to the board of the CCG at the end of January and it will have a final sign-off at a board meeting of the PCT in February.

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