Following the announcement of a public consultation on the future of the Walk-In Centre at Rouen Road, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich North, Alice Macdonald and Norwich South MP, Clive Lewis have urged the public to join a campaign to protect the centre’s future.
The NHS consultation has been launched because the current contract that covers the Norwich Walk-in Centre, GP Practice on Rouen Road, and the Vulnerable Adults Service – Inclusion Health Hub expires in Spring 2024. The Walk-centre is a vital service used by thousands of people all across Norwich, providing on average 5,666 appointments a month.
Commenting on the threat to the Walk-In centre, Alice Macdonald said;
“At a time when the NHS is in crisis and patients are facing record waiting times, we need to preserve the Walk-in Centre which provides essential services to so many people in our area.
A recent survey I carried out on GP and dentist access showed many people are already struggling to get GP appointments when they need them. Closing the centre would only increase the pressure on GP practices as well as on A&E. I’ve already been contacted by people in Norwich North who are really concerned about the threat looming over this invaluable service. I urge people to take part in the consultation and add their voice to this campaign.”
Clive Lewis added;
“We’re effectively being asked to choose by the Integrated Care Board between the promise of improved GP services or continuing to have a walk-in centre. It’s a completely false binary; the answer to the question is that we need both. It’s no exaggeration to say that if they take away our walk-in centre, tens of thousands of us will miss it and local voluntary organisations are telling me it’d be terrible for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the city. There’s no doubt that increasing poverty, disadvantage and inequality means more people are getting ill. In the midst of this, it makes no sense at all to consider closing our walk-in centre.”
An independent report from Healthwatch Norfolk found there was an overwhelming case for a walk-in centre in Norwich. Many people across Norwich have expressed their support for retaining the Walk-in centre. That includes Norwich North resident Tilly Stannard-Moore who said;
“I know the walk-in centre provides vital services to people across Norwich North. As a young family, it gives us huge peace of mind to know it’s there. We absolutely need to make sure it stays.”
The public consultation run by NHS Norfolk and Waveney is open until 26th March 2023.