Lincoln Walk-In-Centre should stay open until ‘robust’ replacement is found, say councillors

Lincoln councillors have said they do not agree that access to healthcare should be cut in order to make savings in response to plans that could see the Lincoln Walk-In-Centre closed.

City of Lincoln Council’s Leadership Scrutiny Committee held a public meeting at the Alive Church in Lincoln on the evening of Tuesday, August 1.

Members noted the overwhelming public support for the centre, which is currently open seven days a week between 8am and 8pm offering on-the-day minor injury and illness care.

In summary, the committee agreed that the centre should remain open unless suitable and accessible replacement services are offered.

The response will now go to the council’s Executive committee for approval.

Hundreds turned out to protest the closure in Lincoln.

Councillor and Chairman of Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee Bob Bushell said: “While the committee accept the need to make financial savings, members do not accept it should limit access to healthcare.

“It was felt that there has not been enough work carried out on robust alternative services. The committee feel that the centre should stay open until such services are available and a further review carried out.”

Lincolnshire West CCG, behind the proposals, have argued the closure would stop the ‘duplication of services’ and save £1 million a year.

The committee recognised the need for the CCG to make savings, but summarised that it felt the centre should remain open until replacement services are in place.

CCG bosses also said previously that the service would be replaced by improvements in self-care services like the 111 number and initiatives to extend GP opening hours across the city.

A number of local campaigners and group representatives were invited to speak at the meeting.

Local company director Dean Graham said after the meeting: “Lincolnshire West CCG continue to try and cover up the need for the WIC by stating that booking appointments online are available for GP surgeries, an out of hours GP Service for Lincoln already exists as well as 24hr cover via 111.

“What they then fail to mention is that online appointments must be booked at least 10 days in advance, the out of hours GP Service located at Lincoln A&E routinely do not have a GP present due to staff shortages and the 111 service is extremely restricted in what it can provide; regularly sign posting to the WIC.

“I was heartened to see city of Lincoln councillors were easily able to see through the less than transparent plans of Lincs CCG with the Chairman calling the plans “laughable”.

“The CCG once again reaffirmed this was a meaningful consultation and if that holds any shred of truth then the walk in centre will remain open as opposition to the plans has been unanimous and overwhelming.”

Last week, Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee agreed unanimously to oppose the proposals. It now has the power to put its concerns to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt if deemed necessary after the consultation.

The CCG’s consultation has recently been extended by almost two weeks and will now close on Friday, August 18.

People can find out more and speak to CCG staff at public drop-in sessions held on Wednesday, August 9, between 10am and 1pm, and between 4pm and 7pm, at Abbey Access Centre in Monks Road.

So far more than 2,000 people have responded to the consultation.

To have your say on the proposals, you can fill in the survey online here.