The Cricklewood walk-in health centre has been given a further one year reprieve from closure after Barnet’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) agreed to extend its contract until 31 March 2017. The health centre has been facing closure for a year due to financial pressures on the CCG who were facing a budget deficit of £10 million, but the CCG has now withdrawn plans to consult on the closure according to a report due to be discussed at the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) on Monday 8 February.
The health centre has a GP surgery serving 1,200 residents and a walk-in facility that is open 8.00am-8.00pm and receives 20,000 visits a year. Last year 57% of patients surveyed said they used the Cricklewood walk-in centre because they couldn’t get an appointment with their GP.
Labour councillors have been campaigning against the threatened closure over concerns that it 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.
The HOSC report agrees with the case put forward by local GPs, patients and Labour councillors that the walk-in centre meets a vital need for accessible and out of hours treatment. It states that “…there are a number of changes in the local and national landscape which impact on the current provision of primary and unscheduled care in Barnet. These include the changing needs of an ageing population, rising demand from a number of regeneration developments in Barnet, changing expectations of patients as a result of 24/7 culture and 4-hour wait standards not being consistently met in local A&Es.”
Labour’s Health Spokesperson, Cllr Phil Cohen said: "We are pleased that the CCG have decided not to go ahead with their plan to close the Cricklewood health centre, but we are concerned about the long-term future of the centre as there are no guarantees beyond March 2017.
“Demand for GP services and pressure on A&E is only going to increase over that time, so we will be seeking a firmer commitment to fund this health centre going forward.”
1. A copy of the HOSC report on the Cricklewood health centre can be found here: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s29336/Cricklewood%20GP%20Health%20Centre%20-%20Update%20Report.pdf
2. For further coverage of this issue see: http://www.barnetlabour.org.uk/cricklewood_health_centre_likely_to_close
For more information contact:
Cllr Phil Cohen: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568