Hackney GPs back NHS consultation on scrapping walk-in centres

GPs in Hackney have backed NHS plans to scrap walk-in services in the north east of the borough in order to improve access to doctors.

NHS North East London and the City is running a consultation over proposals to discontinue the walk-in centres at Tollgate Lodge in Stamford Hill and Springfield Health Centre in Oldhill Street, Stoke Newington.

The NHS claims the money and space saved would allow up to 9,600 additional people to register with GPs at those centres, as well as improving services to those already registered.

Dr May Cahill, medical director for NHS North East London and the City said: “Local people tell us they use these walk-in centres because they find it difficult to register with a GP or to get an urgent appointment with their GP.

“Our plan is to make it easier to register and to get those appointments.

“People using the service often have not registered with a GP.

“A better level of care can be given to people who are signed on with a GP practice that knows your individual health needs.”

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Dr Coral Jones, Hon Sec of City and Hackney BMA said GPs in the group welcomed the idea to expand provision for registration in general practice, as long as the resources saved were used to achieve this.

“The original walk in centres were part of the Darzi plans for London, which have wasted many millions of pounds across London, and mostly which did not fully materialise, and are now being closed down,” she said.

“These were imposed on the Primary Care Trusts by the Department of Health.

“As I understand it, these two walk in centres are not well used and therefore each patient seen costs a lot of money.”

Two drop-in sessions are on take place on Thursday May 24 in Stamford Hill Library, Portland Avenue from noon to 2.30pm, and Wednesday May 30 at Stamford Hill Community Centre, 110 Stamford Hill, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

For more information see www.elc.nhs.uk/consultation

The consultation ends on 29 June 2012.