Are city roadworks driving people away from the walk-in centre?
PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:20 28 September 2019
City centre roadworks have been blamed in part for rising numbers of people going through the doors of the region's busiest hospital - because they are putting patients off using the walk-in centre.
One of the Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital's leading directors has pointed the finger at roadworks schemes close to the drop-in medical facility for people choosing to head to the hospital's accident and emergency department instead.
Previously based in the Castle Mall, the NHS walk-in centre is now located on Rouen Road in the city centre, near where a variety of roadworks schemes have been carried out in recent years.
Chris Cobb, the chief operating officer at the NNUH, told fellow board members he felt this had contributed to people choosing to snub the centre and head to A&E instead.
He said "Walk-in centre attendance has dropped recently, while the strain on our emergency department has grown, so the correlation has been obvious.
"Whenever you see an increase in the number of patients going to A&E you also tend to see a decrease in the number attending walk-in centres.
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"Building work on the roads make them harder to access and this drives patients away from the walk-in centre and generally they will then go to A&E instead."
Currently, the closest set of roadworks to the walk-in centre are on Prince of Wales Road and Rose Lane, as part of a £2.75m traffic shake-up led by Transport for Norwich.
The surrounding area though has seen several changes made to the roads network in recent years, particularly centred around the pedestrianisation of Westlegate.
This saw work carried on Golden Ball Street and Ber Street, along with closures of Westlegate and All Saints Green to traffic.
Meanwhile, Carrow Bridge has also seen a string of closures for repairs.
However, transport bosses have dismissed the claim.
Conservative county councillor Martin Wilby, speaking on behalf of TfN, said: "I would dispute that claim and question what evidence there is to support it.
"While the city centre has seen a high number of improvement projects in recent years, there is nothing presently that would directly impact access to the walk-in centre and all necessary works are designed in a way which minimises disruption to the public."