Neston MP Slams Decision to Close Eastham Walk-In Service
|Published: 1st September 2017 10:06|
In a letter to GP services throughout the area, Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS Wirral CCG) has announced that the walk-in service at Eastham Clinic will cease with effect from September 4th, with some staff being reallocated to Arrowe Park Hospital.
The decision was taken following a review of Urgent Care Services, which sees the introduction of Clinical Streaming - following an initial assessment at the front-door, some patients arriving at the Emergency Department at Arrowe Park will be 'streamed' or directed to the hospital's Walk-In Centre to be seen by a GP, a senior advanced or enhanced nurse practitioner. The latter two are nurses who have received additional medical training and treat minor injuries as well as prescribing simple drugs to deal with most common illnesses
The CCG claims "The introduction of Clinical Streaming will relieve pressure on the Emergency Department so that staff can care for the sickest patients, including older people."
However, responding to the announcement Justin Madders, MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, said: "This decision has to be one of the worst, most ill thought out decisions that I have ever come across and it is being forced on our community without any warning or discussion.
"Whilst the service is primarily for Wirral residents it is also bad news for my constituents, many of whom have come to rely on this centre as they are unable to get to Arrowe Park or the Countess of Chester.
"Patients have a right to be consulted on major changes to their services, so it is appalling that this decision is being made at such short notice and apparently without any consultation.
"In the short-term, I am concerned that people with medical problems will still be turning up at this centre after it closes next week, as a few days' notice is simply not sufficient for the message to reach everyone. I am urging the CCG to put a hold on this hasty decision until they have properly engaged with people in this area."
Mr Madders also raises concerns that the closure will have a a knock-on effect on waiting times at the Countess of Chester hospital and "our already over-stretched GP service." He adds: "Closing the walk in centre is the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs in the Titanic, as it will simply push patients and the pressure on services elsewhere.
"The blame for this decision falls squarely at the door of the Conservative Government, who have chronically underfunded our health services for seven years. A popular well used service like this being shut shows just how desperate things have become under them. I am asking the CCG to think again and to join with us to campaign for properly funded services."
Eastham Clinic will continue to provide other services such as blood testing and the dressings clinic. The changes will also mean that the current Phlebotomy drop in service at Arrowe Park Walk in Centre run by Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust will relocate to the Park Suite at Arrowe Park Hospital and will move to ‘booked appointments' only.
An online petition against the closure of Eastham as a walk-in centre had, at time of writing, attracted nearly 4000 signatures.