Campaigners slam 'poor decision' by H&F Clinical Commissioning Group
Campaigners have hit out at a decision to close an urgent care centre which health bosses said was underused.
The urgent care centre at Hammersmith Hospital will close overnight between midnight and 8am in a bid to save money by Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group.
It will close its doors overnight in November this year.
Health bosses said that not enough people were using the centre late at night – with an average of just five patients turning up for care.
The majority of patients could have been seen the next day by a GP, nurse, pharmacist or healthcare assistant, Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group said.
However Anne Drinkell from HAFSON (Hammersmith and Fulham Save the NHS) said: "Reducing the opening hours at Hammersmith Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre is yet again targeting cuts at communities with very high levels of deprivation and poorer than average health.
" It’s likely to be counter productive leading to longer queues in local A&E departments."
The move follows a consultation with residents and patients.
The urgent care centre at Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham Palace Road will remain open round the clock.
Patients are also being told they can go to the centres at St Mary’s in Paddington and Central Middlesex in Park Royal.
A CCG spokeswoman said the governing body made the decision as "while the UCC is well-used in the daytime, overnight this drops significantly to an average of five patients per night".
She added that the decision was made after assessing the potential impact of the change and the CCG "is confident that these changes are clinically safe and present no risks to our local residents".
The centre also attracts some patients who live over the borough border in Brent.
The CCG said it was acting on suggestions people made in this spring’s (2019) consultation.
It will also install public phones at the Urgent Care Centre so patients can pick up the phone and call the NHS 111 helpline for advice.
Councillor Ben Coleman who is the Cabinet member for health and social care slammed the move.
He said: "This a poor decision which is driven by money and will harm local residents who can’t get to Charing Cross or St Mary’s A&E in time. Nearly 50 people a week use Hammersmith UCC overnight and many more might do so if it was properly publicised. The council offered to help the CCG boost publicity. Instead, they cut the service.
"While we’ve saved Charing Cross Hospital, the battle to stop the NHS cutting millions of pounds from local health services goes on."
However, the CCG has decided not to make changes to the borough's three out of hours GP 'hubs'.
That means the hubs, in Brook Green Medical Centre in Hammersmith's Brook Green, Cassidy Medical Centre in Fulham and Parkview Centre for Health and Wellbeing in Shepherd's Bush will continue to offer GP and nurse appointments during evenings and weekends.
By Local Democracy Reporter Julia Gregory
August 2, 2019