Ilkeston’s walk-in centre to close

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The walk-in centre and GP surgery at Ilkeston Community Hospital are to close in February, it has been revealed this week.

A total of 1,548 patients, currently registered at the Ilkeston Family Practice, which opened in 2009, will now have to re-register with other GP surgeries.

The closure – which will mean the loss of 14 jobs – has been announced despite more than 9,500 patients using Ilkeston’s only walk-in centre in the last three months.

Patients wanting to visit a walk-in centre are now being told to call the 24-hour NHS service on 111 instead, or face a 25-mile round trip to the next nearest centre in Osmaston Road, Derby.

The move comes as another blow to the Heanor Road hospital, raising doubts over its future, as it is currently facing the closure of one of its two wards.

A spokesman for NHS Derbyshire County, responsible for the closure, denied that services are being wound up at the hospital with a plan to close it completely.

“Ilkeston Community Hospital itself remains a central part of health provision in the future and services are unaffected,” he said.

Explaining the decision, he said: “When this practice was commissioned, there were no extended hours available at GP surgeries.

“However, there are many practices in Ilkeston now that offer extended hours, usually on one or two early mornings, late evenings and/or on Saturday mornings.

“Therefore a mutually amicable decision has been made to reduce duplication and maximise efficiencies locally by closing the practice and its walk-in service.”

Unlike the proposed closure of half of the hospital’s beds, there has been no consultation with the public over the move.

But the NHS said that ‘information sessions’ have been planned to inform people of the changes and registered patients have been written to.

“It is intended that a combined urgent care strategy model will be developed for the Erewash area taking account of patient and local stakeholder views to ensure that a new integrated service can be developed and delivered in a timely and effective manner,” said the spokesman.

Derbyshire County Council’s overview and scrutiny committee were consulted on the move and were ‘satisfied with the approach taken’, he added.

Normal appointments can be made at the walk-in centre until Friday February 1, 2013.

From Monday February 4, only patients registered with Ilkeston Family Practice can book an appointment.

All clinical services cease at 6.30pm on Friday February 15.

Patients are being told there is a ‘wide choice of an alternative surgery’.

“Patients are being notified of the changes and will be sent a full list of all Erewash GP practices,” the spokesman added.

“All Erewash practices have fully open lists and they have assured NHS Derbyshire that they will accept all patients who apply to them for service.

“Also all of the practices now offer some level of extended hours of delivery which means that patients still have the flexibility to access routine services out of the core hours of 8am to 6.30pm.”