After nearly a year of engagement with local communities and stakeholders, Thurrock CCG has decided to close the walk-in service based in Grays.
The Governing Body came to the unanimous decision to close the walk-in service at its May meeting after the CCG's engagement with the public and stakeholders over the previous year. The GP service based at the same premises in Thurrock Health Centre is unaffected by this decision.
At the meeting on Wednesday 27 May, the Board scrutinised the results from the CCG's two-month-long public consultation, which involved three public events and a consultation survey.
A key theme from the public consultation report was that access to GPs was the greatest concern for people. Chief among these concerns was the difficulty of getting routine and urgent GP appointments and a desire to see GP opening hours extended to evening and weekends. Respondents also felt that there needed to be better use of resources.
Now that a decision has been made, the CCG can start to draw up implementation plans for developing the health hubs, a weekend GP service currently in development. The CCG plans to open four health hubs across Thurrock, which will offer appointments for GPs and nurses on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 9.15am – 12.30pm. These plans will come back to the Governing Body for review and approval in July.
Dr Anand Deshpande, Chair NHS Thurrock CCG, said: "On behalf of the CCG Governing Body, I am pleased that we have come to a decision that I feel is the best for all Thurrock residents. Closing the walk-in service and reinvesting the money into the local health hubs where people can access weekend GP and nurse appointments closer to where they live is truly a step in the right direction. The walk-in service will not close until March 2016; this will give us, along with patient involvement, nine months to consider the most effective way of investing the funds saved from the closure."
"We are grateful to everyone who shared their views in our questionnaire and came along to our public events. We looked very carefully at the results, and with our unique perspective of the clinical needs of patients, we have reached a decision that we believe is the best for the residents of Thurrock."