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Lib Dems Challenge NHS Bosses Over Short -Term Extension Plan for Putnoe Walk-In Centre

October 9, 2019 9:15 AM

Putnoe Med CentreLiberal Democrat Councillors challenged the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) Chief over the plan for only another short-term contract extension for Putnoe Walk In Centre at a scrutiny committee meeting on Monday night.

Appearing before Bedford Borough Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, BCCG Chief Operating Officer Mike Thompson was pressed by Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Cllr Dean Crofts over the refusal to consider a long-term guarantee for the service when there is such strong local evidence of the need for it. Mr Thompson stated that plans for 'on-the-day' or urgent care services will only be made following the conclusion of the national NHS review of access to primary care, and that 'new models of care' may in the future supersede those currently used.

Cllr Crofts reiterated that, regardless of the national review, we have overwhelming local evidence of the need for the walk-in service, and that it is inconceivable that there will not be a place for the service in the local health system.

Fellow Liberal Democrat Cllr Tim Caswell also challenged the CCG over what exactly was meant by an 'up to one year' extension, and he received clarification that, notwithstanding that text in the report to the committee, the intention is for a full one-year extension. He also challenged the CCG over the claim in the report that there had been strong public support for retaining the Walk-In Centre 'whilst new services including the Urgent Treatment centre at Bedford Hospital Trust and GP Extended Access were established.' Cllr Caswell stressed that, in fact, the strong public support was not conditional only on other services being established, but was for the walk-in service in its own right.

Commenting following the meeting, Cllr Crofts said: "The CCG say that they cannot make decisions pending the national review, but the local evidence of the ongoing need for Putnoe Walk-in Centre is overwhelming. We got confirmation tonight that 'up to one year' will mean one year, but that is not good enough for patients and staff at the walk in centre.'

"We'll keep making the case that those patients and staff need and deserve stability and that the future of this crucial service must be guaranteed."