Following an incredibly well-fought campaign to keep the walk-in services at Pinn Medical Centre open last year, I was disappointed to learn that this is once again under threat due to the demands and pressures on healthcare services as a result of the pandemic.
For some background, at the beginning of COVID pandemic, Harrow CCG asked Pinn Medical Centre to re-deploy services to become a GP Access Centre (GPAC), to which they agreed on the basis of a three-month review. Pinn has continued to work a GPAC/ Walk in Centre (WIC) hybrid model throughout the pandemic. However, as restrictions are now lifting, they are not able to maintain this hybrid with the current funding framework and the increased influx of patients on the service.
As a result, Pinn Medical Centre is now being asked to sign a contract to deliver only a GPAC service, due to go live today (Thursday 1st July). This would sadly remove the ability for patients to walk in and the centre would largely work as an overspill for other GP surgeries and via referral from 111. I met with the partners and the Patients’ Association earlier this week to discuss possible options. Ideally, partners would like to continue to provide a WIC service for all patients. This would provide an alternative to over-stretched hospital based urgent care centres.
Given the short time frame offered by the CCG, the contract has now been signed. However, it has been made clear that the conversation is not over, and we will continue the discussion to maintain a WIC. I have assured the partners and Patients’ Association of my support and will raise with Ministers.