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On/Off Threat to Walk-In Centre

NHS Cuts - Bitterne Walk-In Centre may be reprieved - public petition launched

Plans to close the Bitterne NHS Walk-In Centre have been proposed, then reconsidered, by the Coalition’s newMark_Latham.jpg

Southampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Following a meeting in late October of Southampton’s health scrutiny committee, health bosses said they would “reconsider” the closure. Rowenna Davis, Labour candidate for Itchen said “the fight isn’t over yet. The Clinical Commissioning Group has said it will take the people’s verdict seriously, but their board is yet to make the final decision. We can’t be complacent, we must keep up the pressure. If you haven’t already signed the petition, please make sure you do”

You can sign the petition online at: www.thepetitionsite.com and search ‘Bitterne’.

Many residents in West End, Hedge End, Bursledon, and Netley have expressed their shock and surprise to me when they’ve been told of the proposals. Many have told me how much they rely on the walk-in centre.

A&E waiting
The number of people waiting for a long time at A&E at the General has doubled since 2010; more than one patient in ten waits over four hours to be seen yet residents told me how the BWI Centre relieves pressure on Southampton General A&E department as it is open until 9:30 pm in the evening. Eastleigh residents from all over the borough use this facility, I’d like to hear your views, you can go online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/bitterne-wic.

I will join Southampton Labour MP John Denham and Itchen candidate Rowenna Davis in fighting to keep the Centre open. Here are the reasons and issues behind why the Centre has reached this state:

Why is the Bitterne NHS Walk-In Centre under threat?
The local NHS is under pressure from Coalition cuts:

- In Southampton over £16 million was wasted on the Coalition’s NHS reorganisation that no one wanted; that’s more than ten times the money that would be saved by closing the Bitterne NHS Walk-In Centre!
- The NHS is short of community nursing staff to look after older people at home,
- Some GP practices can’t recruit doctors because of the financial and workload pressures on GPs
- Many patients find they wait a long time to see a GP

What is proposed?
- The CCG wants to shut the Bitterne NHS Walk-In Centre and spend the money saved, about £1.4m, on community nurses to look after the elderly, hoping fewer will have to go into hospital if they become ill. Around 20,000 patients a year using the NHS Walk-In Centre will lose the service.

The issues
There is a real crisis caused by central government policies. This leaves local health leaders facing difficult decisions. We understand why they want to spend more on community nursing for older people. However:

- Residents are very concerned that we have not been given detailed information on the cost of the Bitterne NHS Walk-In Centre.
- There are no alternative proposals; for example to invest more money in enabling patients to see local GPs and nurses easily.
- Our own West Hants CCG should be contributing to keep the Bitterne NHS Walk-In Centre open. Patients need access to care when they choose not masterplans and reorganisations of health quangos.

The Daily Echo recently reported Southampton Conservatives had suggested moving the Centre to a local pharmacy but the CCG said they knew nothing of these plans. We are also told it could be a temporary closure. This piecemeal approach is not acceptable to Eastleigh users of this clinic – we need a consultation and a plan.

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