Concern for patients after centre’s closure
6:57am Saturday 19th January 2013 in News
HEALTH bosses are investigating how to make sure patients do not miss out on treatment after the closure of Bolton’s walk-in centre.
Su Long, from Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said the impact of the closure on “hard-toreach groups”, such as people who are not registered with a GP, was being assessed.
The Lever Chambers walk-in centre, in Howell Croft South, closed on July 31 last year.
Ms Long said: “We are engaging with the voluntary sector about the hardto- reach people. We are very conscious about that.”
She said detailed work was needed to find out if any people were going untreated following the closure of the centre.
Ms Long conceded that there had been an increase in the number of patients attending accident and emergency at the Royal Bolton Hospital since the closure, but that it had been expected and walk-in centre staff had been moved to the hospital to deal with the increase.
She said accident and emergency targets were now being met by the hospital.
The hospital was criticised by independent watchdog Monitor last year over its failure to hit fourhour accident and emergency waiting targets for six months.
Ms Long added that patients with minor ailments were being educated about where best to go for treatment, for example their GP or pharmacy, when they turned up at casualty after being treated.
Cllr Andy Morgan, who sits on Bolton Council’s health, overview and scrutiny committee, said it was important to “keep a handle”
on the impact of the closure of the walk-in centre.
Health chiefs say the walk-in centre was closed because the majority of people visiting it were using it for services which were already being provided by pharmacies, GPs and accident and emergency.
A public awareness campaign was launched before the closure of the walk-in centre, advising patients where they should go for treatment.
Ten nurses and one healthcare assistant from the centre were also moved to accident and emergency to help cope with any increase in the number of people going to the hospital.