The Cricklewood GP Health Centre at Britannia Business Village NW2 could close under new plans from Barnet’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – it was revealed at this week’s Health Scrutiny Committee. The Health Centre has a GP surgery serving 1,200 residents and a walk-in facility that is open 8.00am-20.00pm and receives 20,000 visits a year.
Barnet’s CCG are consulting on closing the walk-in facility as the contract is due to expire in June and the CCG are facing “significant financial challenges” with a forecast deficit of over £10m. Patients would be diverted to other GPs, other walk-in centres and pharmacies.
57% of patients surveyed said they used the Cricklewood walk-in centre because they couldn’t get an appointment with their GP, and Labour councillors are concerned that closing the centre would result in additional pressure on A&E departments in the borough. Representatives of Barndoc – the face-to-face out of hours GP service – also said that most patients would end up going to A&E as it was so difficult to get GP appointments.
Labour councillors opposed the plans to close the walk-in facility at the Health Scrutiny meeting - the CCG’s Patient Participation Group and Barndoc also both oppose the closure plans.
A report with details of the consultation will be brought back to a future Health Scrutiny meeting.
Labour’s Health Spokesperson, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “Cricklewood is an area with a high concentration of private renters so the population is transient and is also set to increase dramatically because of the regeneration of the area.
“Closing this health facility under these circumstances would be incredibly short sighted, especially given the shortage of GP services and the pressure on A&E.
“This would be the second walk-in clinic to close locally after the closure of the East Finchley service, and it’s no good saying they can go to Finchley Memorial walk-in centre – that is only a walk-in centre after 3 bus journeys!”
Labour’s PPC for Finchley & Golders Green, Sarah Sackman said: "Significant gaps in GP cover for Barnet's residents are opening up and people are rightly worried. The East Finchley High Road practice is closing on 31st March and patients are being asked to transfer to Muswell Hill, which is going to be a real struggle for parents with young children and anyone with mobility problems. People are already finding it difficult to get a GP appointment and the situation is extremely worrying.
"At the same time we have the scandal of two modern, high quality GP suites lying empty and unused at Finchley Memorial Hospital for nearly two years because the contract managers for three different NHS units can't agree on the rent and other costs.
"Something is going badly wrong and we need an urgent statement from the Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group, which is run by GPs under the Government's £3 billion health reorganisation."
Notes to editors:
The CCG proposal discussed at the Health Scrutiny meeting can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s20962/Appendix%20A%20-%20Submission%20from%20Barnet%20CCG.pdf
Details of the Cricklewood Health Centre can be found here: http://www.cricklewoodgphealthcentre.nhs.uk/index.htm
To contact Cllr Rawlings: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568