100 campaigners protest closure

Protest outside Ilkeston family practice walk in centre.
Protest outside Ilkeston family practice walk in centre.

A week today, Ilkeston’s walk-in centre and a popular GP surgery will close for good.

About 100 campaigners held a vigil outside Ilkeston Family Practice on Friday to protest the plans.

Amanda Jackson heading the campaign said: “There was a good turnout and it was a good chance for patients to say goodbye to the doctors and staff.”

She said they were continuing the fight but she admitted the group is ‘resigned to the fact’ that the surgery will close on Thursday February 28.

The new focus of the group, she said, is to bring a surgery with long opening hours – like Ilkeston Family Practice – and a walk-in centre back to Ilkeston,

One of the campaign’s main concerns has been the lack of out-of-hours provision at other surgeries in Ilkeston.

The NHS in Derbyshire is now planning to open a number of surgeries in town seven days a week and over longer hours.

Director of commissioning Vikki Taylor said it will give patients a ‘wider choice of access to GP services’.

“The pilot scheme will also be pivotal in helping us to investigate how weekend services in surgeries support patient care and to assess the impact across the community and on other health services,” she said.

But the plans have not appeased the campaigners.

Ms Jackson said: “It’s a joke. They are only opening for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays. At Littlewick that amounts to a total of 39.5 hours, whereas Ilkeston Family Practice was open 84 hours a week – that’s a massive difference.”