Angel walk-in centre could close as NHS chiefs consider alternatives for same-day appointments
PUBLISHED: 13:02 05 October 2018
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Islington’s only walk-in health service could close when the contract runs out next year as chiefs “explore options” surrounding same-day appointments.
The Angel Medical Walk-in-Centre at the Ritchie Street practice in the Angel has been open seven days a week for 10 years for people unable to book GP appointments.
But the Islington Clinical Commissioning group (CCG) is now looking at alternative options ahead of the £780,000-a-year contract expiring in March.
Among the options are offering more same-day appointments at GP surgeries or commissioning a provider to run extra appointments at “hubs” in the borough.
A report discussed at a town hall health overview and scrutiny meeting this week said: “In the decade since the WIC opened, there have been significant changes to the way in which urgent primary care services are commissioned.
“The General Practice Forward view published in April 2016, set out plans to ensure that by 2020 all patients in England have access to routine appointments in evenings and weekends.
“This mandate has informed the development of our extended access service, which provides access to routine primary care appointments in evenings and at weekends. The walk-in-service currently commissioned does not provide the same scope and level of service that is now provided by the extended access hubs.”
The walk-in service does not provide access to patient records and onward referrals cannot be made.
Healthwatch Islington chief Emma Whitby told the Gazette it could provide a more equitable service for people across the borough and said walk-in services were “not fashionable” within the NHS anymore.
She said: “We hope that whatever the remodel is they include something for people who do want to just turn up, we want the system to be as flexible as possible.
“If you have a long term condition you want to see the same person, if it’s not long-term you just want to do it as quickly as possible.”
A spokesperson for Islington CCG said: “No decisions have been made and the CCG is committed to maintaining the same level of investment in same day GP appointments.
“As part of this process the CCG is currently engaging with the public about the future provision of this service and the range of options available.”