Ashfield walk-in centre finally closes its doors

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THE walk-in centre at Ashfield Health Village in Kirkby finally closed its doors to patients on Friday.

The closure of the walk-in centre was approved by the Health Secretary in July after a long battle to keep it open.

In the spring, board members at NHS Nottinghamshire County decided to close the centre, along with another one in Stapleford, and integrate the services with King’s Mill’s Hospital’s emergency department instead.

The centre was granted a reprieve after members of Nottinghamshire County Council’s overview and scrutiny committee, which looks at major decisions, referred it to the Secretary of State because they were not convinced it was in the interests of patients.

News of the closure sparked controversy and Kirkby campaigner Jim Aspinall collected more than 3,000 signatures protesting about the move.

This week, Mr Aspinall said he was ‘disappointed’.

“It’s a sad day for Kirkby and a sad day for democracy,” he said. “If our voices are not going to be heard, what is the point?”

He also said the closure of day care, along with day care centres, meant that health care in Ashfield was ‘under attack’.

The decision was finalised at a meeting on 20th September at Nottinghamshire County Council’s Social Care and Health Standing Committee, which oversees any substantial changes to health services.

Deborah Jaines, who is chief operating officer for High Point Health Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group, has reassured patients that there are other services on offer.

She said: “We are keen to remind patients that there are many different ways to access health services across Nottinghamshire.

“This includes your local pharmacy, GP practice, NHS Direct and even self care.”

Now patients are being encouraged to make greater use of pharmacies, family doctors, out-of-hours service, which is accessed by dialling the usual GP surgery telephone number during evenings and weekends, and NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or online at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.