Politicians and pressure groups have called for Putnoe Walk-In Centre’s future to be guaranteed, after health bosses revealed their plans for a maximum one-year extension for the service from September 2020.
In a report which will be considered by Bedford Borough Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee next week, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) states that it intends to extend the contract for the popular healthcare facility for ‘up to a year’ while a national review of access to primary care continues.
The current two-year contract was entered into a year ago after extensive campaigning efforts forced a u-turn by the BCCG over its plans to close the site.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Bedford & Kempston, Henry Vann said, “Putnoe Walk-In Centre is a vital healthcare service which thousands of people depend upon when they and their loved ones need care.
“A one-year extension or less is simply not good enough for those people or for the staff.
“A national review is no reason for the service to be threatened with another short-term deadline. We have enough local evidence of the critical need for this service. For example, last winter it played a vital role in relieving pressure on A&E and other services, and as another winter approaches it will do so again.
“It’s time Putnoe Walk-In Centre was put on a secure footing for the future. If you agree, please sign the petition at www.bedfordlibdems.org.uk/Walkin.”
Mohammad Yasin MP said, “We knew the contract to run Putnoe Walk-In Centre was not guaranteed beyond next year but we have already successfully made the case for this vital service in our community and will fight to do so again.”
Campaigner, Jenny Feneley of Hands off Bedford Hospital, said, “When they announced the extension of the walk-in centre on reduced hours, I suspected it was only a stay of execution, and said so at the time.
“These walk-in centres aren’t part of the NHSE strategy in the 10 year plan and the CCG is committed to delivering to the plan.
“We must continue to fight for the services we need as a community, not allow our CCG to carry on with changes prescribed by the plan regardless of impact to the local population.
“This announcement comes with the news that vital services will remain at Bedford. [It is] interesting then that the business case for the merger (acquisition of Bedford Hospital Trust by the Luton & Dunstable Hospital) comes with massive capital investment in the L&D. And there are no guarantees on other services, stroke, mental health etc.
“We must stay vigilant.”