Greyfriars health centre in Great Yarmouth axed five years after opening at cost of £8m
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
A multi-million health centre and walk-in clinic, which opened less than five years ago, is being axed by health bosses.
Greyfriars Medical Clinic, Great Yarmouth's only walk-in centre, is will close in September, a meeting of the governing body of medical commissioners decided on Thursday afternoon.
Now, a county councillor has pledged to campaign to keep the unit open.
Johnathon Childs, has said he will set up a group to campaign to keep the centre open.
Cllr Childs said: 'I am totally amazed that such a community asset as the Greyfriars walk-in centre is to be closed, it appears that the authors of the report have not tried to get a doctors appointment in the borough.'
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The county councillor, who represents East Flegg, added: 'People who work 9 to 5, people who live on the Yarmouth-side of the river for whom transport to the Paget is difficult at the best of times – are their wishes being taken into account?'
Officials from NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met on Thursday to examine a report outlining how patients used the clinic and to consider its future.
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CCG bosses said the walk-in centre was not used enough and had 'minimal impact towards reducing A&E attendances' at the James Paget.
Their own figures show that between April 2014 and March 2015 the average attendance per day was 28, with around half of those being people from outside the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area, however the report noted that the centre was busier during the holiday season.
At weekends 57 patients attend per day, with a third of them coming from outside the area.
A Norfolk County Council report found in May 2014 that 42pc of patients spoken to at Greyfriars said that they would have attended A&E if the walk-in centre had not been available.
The CCG plans to mitigate the walk-in centre closure by 'enhancing' the NHS 111 helpline and expanding the GP-led out-of-hours primary care service at the Paget.
The contract to provide GP and walk-in centre services at Greyfrairs in Howard Street South came to an end on March 31 – it was then extended for another six months and is currently provided by Malling Health.
Yvonne Ellis, the practice manager at Greyfriars, said: 'I understand the contract has come to an end, however I do not think the dispersal of our patients is necessary. I don't think they will save money by doing so.
'Neighbouring practices are already overworked. We regularly see patients from other surgeries who come here because they can't get an appointment.
'We do care about patients, it is not about money. We are there to provide a service and unfortunately we will not be able to do that from September. It is quite sad.'
Concerns were raised in the report at the meeting that staff could leave the walk-in centre before the end of the current contract and alternative provisions may have to be brought in before September.
The report states: 'There is a risk that staff providing services may find alternative employment impacting the ability of Greyfriars to provide services.'
Should this be the case, provision for walk-in services can be provided through the model highlighted with our out of hours provider asked to implement the new model sooner.'
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