DID YOU know that there are plans to close the Worcester Walk-in Health Centre in Farrier Street?
You’re not alone – most people are unaware of this major change to health services in the city centre that will affect thousands of Worcester residents.
Around 15,000 people use the Walk-in Centre, which is open 8am-8pm each day, 365 days a year.
The vast majority of people who use the Centre live and work in the city centre.
Many use it because they cannot get an appointment with their own GP when they need it – a growing problem as resources for GP practices are squeezed and since Labour’s 48 hour guarantee for seeing a GP was scrapped by the Tories.
Large numbers who use it are homeless, or vulnerable in other ways. It caters well for the city’s growing and mobile student population.
Above all, it offers easy access to medical advice at times that are convenient for the thousands who use the service and in a convenient, city centre location that is easy to get to.
The closure has been proposed as part of a review of Urgent Care, to relieve pressure on A&E services at the Worcester Royal.
The plan is to relocate the Walk-in Centre to sit alongside A&E at the hospital. So instead of 15,000 people using a city centre Walk-in Centre, they will now all have to make the journey to A&E at the hospital and wait to be assessed along with everyone else already using A&E. That will put more pressure on A&E, not less.
There is also the problem of getting to the hospital, especially for people without their own transport; the time people will lose at work while they make the journey to A&E; and, more seriously, many people will end up not seeking medical advice, putting their health at risk.
Since I raised the closure at a meeting of Worcester City Council, the Council has looked in detail at the proposals with NHS representatives and found the plans for closing the Walk-in Centre do not make sense.
Worcester Walk-in Health Centre has been a great success since it opened in 2009.
I think it is worth saving, which is why I am launching the ‘Save Worcester Walk-In Centre’ campaign.
You can join me by signing my petition at www.saveworcesterwalkin.co.uk