Petition to save Bath's NHS walk-in clinic
A petition has been launched against the closure of Bath's NHS walk-in clinic.
Health chiefs want to transfer the services offered by GPs and nurses at the 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.
People who regularly use the centre have attacked the plans and an online petition has been launched by Bath Labour Party.
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The party's campaigners are concerned about how easy it will be for patients to access the services at the RUH.
The party said: "They have not explained how vulnerable people who are not registered with a B&NES GP, such as visitors, people who work in Bath, and the homeless will access urgent medical services without travelling out to the RUH which they may not be in a position to do.
"Also, many poorer families living in other areas of Bath may find it impossible to afford the bus fare to travel to the RUH, and some of the elderly, disabled and frail may find bus travel too difficult.
"We understand that up to 100 consultations a day are carried out at the centre, and the CCG themselves say that demand is increasing.
"How can it make sense to close such a valued and popular NHS service?"
The contract for the centre, which treats 30,000 patients a year and costs £1.3 million a year to run, ends in April 2014.
The B&NES CCG wants to move GPs and nursing staff services from the walk-in centre to the RUH, from March 2014, with the GP out-of-hours emergency service also based at the hospital.
CCG chair, Bath GP Dr Ian Orpen, said: "Maintaining high-quality care for patients is our top priority.
"We believe bringing these services together at the RUH's emergency department will provide a much better service for local people.
"The majority of people who use the centre already have a GP so in effect we are paying for the same service twice."
Public meetings are being held across B&NES to give people the chance to voice concerns and have their questions answered.
There are two remaining dates: Thursday, October 25, 2-3.30pm, Radstock Methodist Church Hall, The Street, Radstock; Friday, October 26, 10-11.30am, St Luke's Church Hall, Hatfield Road, Bath.
People need to register to attend by contacting 01225 831760 or email evelyn.allen@ banes-pct.nhs.uk up to two days before the meetings.