A leading Lincolnshire NHS boss has said that he supports controversial plans to close the Lincoln Walk-In Centre if the proposals are sound and can be implemented swiftly.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Jan Sobieraj said that the trust would back the closure as long as patients previously treated at the centre would not end up in A&E.
However, he was unable to name a single person outside of the NHS who thought that the proposals were a good idea.
Lincolnshire West CCG is consulting with residents on plans that would see the centre closed permanently.
In its place, NHS bosses are promising improved access to local GPs and advancements to the 111 service and self-care support.
ULHT will respond to the consultation in the next few days.
In an interview with The Lincolnite, Jan Sobieraj said that Lincoln County Hospital A&E deals with roughly 230 patients every day.
If the proposals were not sound, he said that it could lead to a 15% increase in volume which the department would struggle to cope with.
He said: “We are looking at the detailed arrangements that they (Lincolnshire West CCG) are proposing to make sure that patients can be looked after.
“What we know is that around 100 patients a day go to that service. We know that the CCG is clear that these patients can be looked after by their GPs.
“What we need to see is that their plans are sound enough to make sure that those patients don’t default into our service.”
When pressed on whether he supported the proposals, the trust chief said: “If the CCG has really sound proposals that can work and work swiftly, and they can safely look after the patients and we are comfortable those patients won’t default into our A&E department, then yes we would.”
The Lincolnite also asked Jan Sobieraj if he could name one person who was not part of the NHS who believed that the closure was a positive move.
After a brief pause, he said: “I’ve not asked the question.
“I haven’t asked either patients or the public about that so I wouldn’t know the answer.”
He added that he knew that the service was well-used and was seen as very accessible by the public.
However, he said that the understood Lincolnshire West CCG’s position that they were in effect paying twice for both the GP service and walk-in centre.
Lincolnshire West CCG’s consultation on the closure ends on Friday, August 18.