I have received many letters expressing concerns about the potential closure of Putnoe Walk in Centre.
The original proposal was for the creation of an Urgent Treatment Centre at Bedford Hospital to be completed in March , with the aim that this would be an enhanced walk in service in a more central location. They had intended to close the walk in element of the Putnoe Medical Centre as part of these plans.
Bedfordshire CCG tell me that they are required to provide this facility on the hospital site – it is ‘nationally mandated’ and has to be located next to hospital facilities– But providing an urgent treatment centre on the hospital site raises a number of questions to which I do not yet have an answer, including whether encouraging people to visit an already-crowded hospital site, with the Accident and Emergency facilities in the same area, would actual reduce the pressure on the existing A&E, and whether sufficient parking can be provided on the hospital site.
It would appear that the proposal to close the Walk in Centre, has, at least temporarily, been paused. The CCG are looking at how they can provide extended hour services for patients across the area and tell me that they have taken on board the overwhelming opposition to removing walk in facilities. Together with Labour Councillors, I am pressing for this facility to remain in Putnoe, and for other walk in facilities to be provided throughout the constituency. They are a vital service .
Along with Labour colleagues in Parliament, I will continue to make the case to Government that they need to tackle the crisis in NHS Funding and give our health service the money it needs to provide world class care, to stop privatisation and reinstate bursaries for trainee nurses, and to allow plans for the creation of Accountable Care Organisations proper democratic scrutiny at all levels.