Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed not to recommission a walk-in service at the Asda GP Access Centre in Hereford.
At its public meeting yesterday (Thursday 15 June 2017), the CCG’s Governing Body approved a decision not to renew the contract for the Nestor-Primecare Services walk-in centre, based at the Asda GP Access Centre from the end of July 2017.
Instead, proposals were agreed that the Ross Road branch of Moorfield House Surgery and the primary care access hub (currently provided by Taurus Healthcare at Wargrave House Surgery in Hereford) will be relocated to the Asda GP Access Centre site.
The aim of this is to strengthen GP services in the South-Wye area of the city and forms part of a larger county-wide programme to deliver high quality primary care across Herefordshire.
The CCG’s Governing Body considered the recommendations after a full public consultation on the proposals was held during March and April this year. More than 290 online responses and feedback at public events were received.
Herefordshire clinical commissioning group's health bosses also say they will now look to reinvest resources into local GP practices in anticipation of the walk-in service at Asda no longer being available. This is in response to public concerns over appointment accessibility and fears that additional pressure will be placed on A&E.
During the meeting, the Governing Body listened to concerns and recommendations from members of the public and local councillors and additional plans were also agreed to focus on vulnerable residents who find it difficult registering with a GP to ensure that as many people as possible are registered.
The CCG also made a firm commitment engage closely with the voluntary sector as it implements these proposals, in particular in developing solutions to ensure safeguarding of those who are most vulnerable.
Dr Ian Tait, GP and clinical chair of Herefordshire CCG, said: "It is understandable that the decision will be met with some apprehension, but we will reinvest the money in primary care and community services to provide the best and most appropriate care for the local population.
"The walk-in service was designed to provide for people who are not registered with a GP in the local area or who cannot get an urgent same-day appointment at their practice, but our research found that it was not fulfilling this purpose.
“The changes will mean a better service for registered patients at the Ross Road branch and will bring the evening and weekend appointments to a location that will also serve South Wye residents, which they do not currently have.
“Research shows that people have better health outcomes when they are registered at a GP practice where they are known and can be signposted to the right care at the right time.
"Because of this, we think that primary care for the people of Herefordshire would be improved most by better supporting existing GP services."
The plans will include a refurbishment of the existing premises in August. It was also agreed that robust plans would be in place to ensure people are redirected to appropriate services and there will be a public awareness campaign to inform people of appropriate alternatives and where to go if they need help.