Mad to close Walk In Centres - such a well-used service

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I was dismayed to read that Calderdale’s Walk In Centres are to close in October.

When Calderdale’s Labour Group learnt of the Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) intention to close the centres last year we immediately launched a campaign to keep them open. To close such a well-used service - at a time when the NHS 111 service is in chaos and A&E waiting times are at their highest in nine years - is nothing short of madness. It is already a struggle to see GPs out of hours, and closing our walk in centres is likely to put more strain on A&E.

There was ultimately cross-party opposition to the Walk In closures in council, and we were given assurances from the CCG that the service would not close, at least until there were alternative arrangements for unplanned care in place. The article in last weekend’s paper appears to contradict this, with only a flimsy commitment to offer ‘alternative arrangements at weekends when demand is highest’. It would be helpful if the CCG could clarify their intentions, as this has been a shock even to councillors who sit on Calderdale’s Health and Wellbeing Board. The decision to close the centres shows a disregard for the views our elected representatives, who have worked hard to keep the service open, but also the views of the public, who have never been properly consulted on the matter.

We are also awaiting answers from the NHS Trust on what is happening to urgent care services as a result of the ‘Calderdale and Huddersfield Health and Social Care Strategic Review’, with rumours circulating that we could even lose our A&E department in Calderdale.

We learnt in council last week that the review is months behind schedule and there is no accurate timescale in place for its completion. I sincerely hope that there is no plan to axe our A&E department, but until we have some clear proposals on the table people are bound to worry what the future holds and the speculation about what conversations are taking place behind

closed doors will only continue.

We keep being told that the NHS is not facing cuts, but that’s certainly not how it appears. In any case it is time we were all told what the future ‘vision’ is for unplanned and emergency care in Calderdale and Kirklees.

Coun Adam Wilkinson (Lab)