Row erupts over King’s Mill Hospital ‘walk-in’centre

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A LEADING campaigner in the failed battle to save the walk-in centre at Ashfield Health Village claims health bosses have been ‘economical with the truth’ about replacement services.

The centre had provided treatment for patients with minor ailments who could be seen to without appointments, but closed its doors at the end of September, following a decision by Government health secretary, Andrew Lansley.

NHS Nottinghamshire County health bosses said the service was underused and shutting it would save cash.

It was announced walk-in centre services would be integrated with King’s Mill hospital’s emergency department.

The decision followed a patient survey which found most people in favour of moving the service to the hospital.

But Labour Party activist Jim Aspinall, who led the campaign to save the Kirkby walk-in centre, claimed patients were being ‘turned away’ from the new service, dubbed PrimaryCare24, and told there was no ‘walk in’ service and they needed an appointment.

“The loss of the walk-in centre was an absolute travesty for the people of Kirkby who thought they were going to have to go a lot further to get the same service - now they are being told the replacement isn’t a walk-in service at all.

“How can it be a walk-in service if you are being told to go away and make an appointment?”

I think the people behind this have been economical with the truth about what was on offer.”

Labour MP Gloria De Piero said she had received complaints from constituents angry about being turned away.

“ I, along with the people of Ashfield, fought to keep the walk-in centre in Kirkby. The PCT insisted on moving it to King’s Mill,” she said

“Now we learn that there will be no walk-in centre there either. I am furious and have written to the Chief Executive (of NHS Nottinghamshire County) to demand a full explanation.”

Dr Raian Sheikh, local GP and clinical lead for Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group, which runs PrimaryCare24, said: “We would want to fully understand and work with Gloria and others to ensure that the messages of where to go for the right place, first time care are known and understood by all.

“The majority of the people of Ashfield are already using services in appropriate ways following the closure of the walk-in centre in September.

“A&E at King’s Mill Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre do have primary care services available, but patients are reminded to consider the use of the local pharmacy, GP practice – including the out of hours service, and NHS Direct before attending A&E or calling 999. Right place, first time care is key to ensure the best quality and highest value services in the NHS.

“In all clinical settings, including at A&E, all patients will be initially assessed to ensure they are treated or redirected to the most appropriate place for the level of care they need.

“If patients need advice with accessing local NHS services, they can call the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 028 3693.”

A spokesman for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the body which runs King’s Mill hospital, said PrimaryCare24 was a separate service provided by NHS Nottinghamshire County and that no-one was being turned away from the hospital’s emergency department.