Walk in services are to remain at Putnoe Walk in Centre for at least the next 2 years after agreement was reached between the Medical Centre’s partners and the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG).
The BCCG, the body which organises NHS services locally, recently announced its intention to close the Putnoe Walk In Centre from Spring 2019. This was linked to plans to open a new Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) on the Bedford Hospital site. The UTC will provide same-day appointments for minor illnesses over a 12 hour period, 7 days a week via referrals from A & E and the 111 phone service and will reduce pressure on the Hospital’s A & E function.
The BCCG undertook a consultation on these plans in August. However, the consultation closed early following the receipt of over 1900 responses, with the BCCG acknowledging the strength of local feeling to retain the Putnoe Walk in Centre.
The Walk in Centre will now remain open, albeit with reduced hours on weekdays, while the UTC remains on track to open in October.
Conservative Group Spokesperson Cllr Roger Rigby said:
‘The sheer number of people who spoke out against the closure of the Putnoe Walk in Centre underlines its importance to residents, many of whom have relied on its support at one time or another. People power has won the day.
‘It is extremely positive news that the Walk in Centre will be retained for the next 2 years. Although it is very disappointing that it will not be open on weekday afternoons, it will continue to deliver a full service on weekends.
‘We will keep a very close eye on the how well Bedford Hospital’s new Urgent Treatment Centre performs once it opens in October. Residents want to see an overall improvement in service provision.’