Community campaigners aiming to save the much-loved Guildhall Walk-In have now received a formal response to their consultation submission and petition as part of the clinical commissioning group’s controversial plans to change the services available in the heart of Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Labour organised a petition to help protect the health care services on offer at the centre led by Stephen Morgan, Labour’s candidate for Charles Dickens ward, when the CCG started a process of consultation about the future of the service last Autumn. Labour’s high profile campaign attracted over 1,000 signatures and included popular street stalls and the support of local businesses.
In writing to Stephen, the Chief Operating Officer for the CCG, Innes Richens, writes:
“Your feedback has been an important part of our work and our proposals have been amended quite significantly throughout the process, as we have received feedback from yourselves and many others.”
Approved by the CCG earlier this month, the recommendations agreed are to retain a practice in the city centre, and continue the option for registered patients to ‘walk in and wait’. This will mean that between now and 30 June, the GP practice service will remain entirely unchanged.
In addition the response states:
- between 1 July – April 2017, the Guildhall Walk practice will remain, although the walk-in service will only be available to people who register there as patients. The cap on numbers has been lifted.
- a procurement exercise will now be run, to award a new contract for the provision of GP services, from April 2017 onwards. The precise location of the practice after that time will depend upon the outcome of the procurement – no locations have been ruled in, or out, but the CCG is clear that it must be in, or near to, the city centre.
- enhancement to the walk-in services at St Mary’s Treatment Centre – from 1 July GPs will now work with the nursing staff, offering an enhanced walk-in service for both minor injuries and minor illness for city residents.
- commission enhanced pharmacy services in the city centre with an ability for providers to treat a wider range of conditions and for a wider range of people (including students) than is currently the case.
In receiving this news, Stephen said:
“Whilst I’m disappointed this isn’t a complete victory for our community campaign I am assured the CCG has taken on board the concerns of local people.
They’ve made concessions to keep health care services in the accessible location of the city centre and some walk-in services will remain, which is to be welcomed.
But I will be keeping a close eye on these new arrangements to make sure local people are always at the forefront of these important health services. The jury is still out”.
For more information about our campaign on the Guildhall Walk-In and other local community issues visit Stephen’s website at http://www.stephenjmorgan.org