5,700 registered patients of the Cricklewood walk-in centre GP surgery have received a letter over the last week explaining that the future of the surgery is uncertain. Residents are being asked to participate in a consultation which states the health centre may be put up for tender or shut. Concerned Labour councillors have been in conversation with residents and the management who have advised that the consultation will determine whether the GP surgery remains open or will close. The consultation runs until the end of July.
Starting in August, the walk-in urgent care provision is also up for consultation. This will concern many more residents and service users as the walk-in facility is always busy and well used.
Residents can respond to the initial consultation in relation to the GP surgery by emailing: email@example.com
The BBC have revealed today that the NHS has seen the first sustained fall in GP numbers for 50 years. Analysis by the Nuffield Trust for the BBC shows that the number of GPs per 100,000 people fell from nearly 65 in 2014 to 60 last year.
Overall government policy has been to concentrate GP surgeries in super hubs with much larger catchment areas and further for patients to travel. Labour councillors are concerned that this together with the falling GP numbers is making access to healthcare harder. They believe the health needs of local communities should be enhanced and improved not weakened.
Labour councillor for Childs Hill ward, Anne Clarke said: “As a Cricklewood resident I understand how vital the health centre is. With Ravenscroft Surgery in consultation to move to Finchley Memorial, we would be losing two GP surgeries who take a large number of patients from either end of the Childs Hill ward. Residents tell me they use the walk-in centre when their own surgeries don’t have appointment times. It is unclear who would take the patients registered at the Cricklewood GP practice with local surgeries already over capacity.
“The walk-in is a real lifeline for local people, the Royal Free and Barnet Hospital are simply too far away.”
Labour’s Lead on Communities, Cllr Sara Conway said: “Cricklewood residents made it clear that this is a vital local primary service when asked in 2013. I’m concerned that this centre is again under threat and that healthcare decision-making across the local area seems to be increasingly driven by funding cuts and not residents’ needs.”