Bath patients have their say on NHS walk-in clinic
People across Bath have been having their say on plans to close the city's NHS walk-in clinic.
Public meetings have been held across Bath and north east Somerset to allow people to air their views and ask questions.
Health chiefs are planning to transfer the services offered by GPs and nurses at the walk- in centre in James Street West to the Royal United Hospital.
Doctors from the B&NES Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which will take control of the local health service next April, say this will save money as virtually all the patients using the centre are already registered at their own surgery.
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CCG chair Ian Orpen has been joined by Dr Ruth Grabham of Newbridge Surgery, Dr Simon Douglass from Hope House Surgery in Radstock, and Dr Jim Hampton of St Michael's Surgery for the meetings.
Dr Orpen said: "The contracts for the GP out of hours service and the GP-led health centre come to an end in March 2014 and this gives us an opportunity to look at the urgent care services in B&NES.
"Furthermore in these financially challenging times, we have to make judgments on how to make the best use of the public money we have at our disposal so we want to know what people think about our plans.
"At the same time we are working with our local GP practices to improve their access so that in future you can see them more easily for urgent problems as we recognise that this is a barrier for many people."
Concerns over the planned closure have included the cost of parking at the RUH, how the move would affect vulnerable people, such as the homeless, and the availability of GPs to see patients.
The centre treats 30,000 patients a year and costs £1.3 million a year to run.
The CCG says it is working on making it easier for patients to get appointments at GP surgeries by ensuring that telephones are answered promptly between 8am and 6.30pm, with no lunchtime closing.
A petition organised by local Labour campaigners against the move has collected more than 300 signatures.