Fears have been raised that doctors’ surgeries and A&E departments will come under strain after health bosses confirmed a Wakefield city centre GP practice will close down next month.
Express readers have taken to social media to highlight their concerns following last week’s announcement that the facility at King Street Health Centre will not continue past March 31.
Its 3,500 registered patients will have to find new practices.
Maurice Woodhead wrote: “So where do they go then, if they sign up with another practice seeing a doctor will be difficult.”
Nicola Marsden said: “This is disgusting, so what happens when you are unable to get a GP appointment?? More people will end up in A&E putting extra pressure on them.”
Jay Mawdsley said: “Hah you can’t even get an appointment with your GP for months as it is. What a joke.”
And Carolyn Royston added: “Tunnel vision, put more pressure on existing surgeries and A&E because there are how many thousands of new homes being built in Wakefield?”
The NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the decision to shut the GP practice had been made by its Probity Committee, following a three month public consultation period from October to December last year.
It said all patients would be contacted by post to explain what to do next and given support to help them register with a new practice.
It said: “There are nine other surgeries within 1.3 miles of King Street Health Centre, all of which are accepting new patients.
“NHS Wakefield CCG will also be holding drop-in sessions at King Street to help explain the changes and will provide extra support for those who require further assistance.
“No patient will be left without a GP practice as a result of these changes, and the NHS Wakefield CCG has a robust dispersal plan in place to ensure this.”
Andrew Nutter, deputy chief executive at Local Care Direct, the current provider of the GP practice at the health centre, added: “We are obviously disappointed the practice will be closing but we understand the reasons for closure and that this does not reflect on the wonderfully dedicated team of people who have worked hard to deliver a high quality service to their patients, including many who are vulnerable and often feel excluded from public services.
“We will now be working closely with NHS Wakefield CCG to ensure a smooth transition which maintains high standards of care for patients, and supports our colleagues at King Street practice to secure other roles within our organisation.”
The CCG said the closure would not affect the district’s walk-in centre, which operates from the same building on King Street.
But this centre, where people have been able to see medics without an appointment since 2009, is also under threat and could shut in September.
Its future is being considered as part of a separate review of urgent and emergency care, including A&E services.
And some readers have joined Wakefield MP Mary Creagh in calling for the facility to be protected, fearing its closure would put added pressure on already-squeezed A&E departments.
Ms Creagh, who took a 2,000-strong petition to save King Street Health Centre to Parliament, said: “The CCG must now guarantee the safe running of the walk-in centre, and ensure that the 38,000 people who used the centre last year are not forced into Pinderfields’ overstretched A&E. I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to make sure the CCG do not close the walk-in centre too.”
Carole Howcroft wrote on Facebook: “We need this to stay open for the walk in centre it is a brilliant well used facility which we have used over the years otherwise it would have been A&E.”
Annie Cowcill said: “As far as I’m aware (correct me if I’m wrong) but isn’t this the only walk in centre for the whole of the Mid Yorks area? This is going to have a big impact on already maxed out A&E departments. A big rethink is called for surely.”
And Christopher Hudson wrote: “If walk in centre closes everyone will go to A&E this town is going backwards.”
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