Concern as future of Stratford walk-in service hangs in the balance

A Stratford walk-in service could close, raising concerns about how already oversubscribed GP surgeries would be able to cope.

Vicarage Lane walk-in service, which currently offers appointments daily between 8am and 8pm, might be shut as Newham Clinical Commissioning Group seeks to make cost savings.

But Dr Ron Singer, chairman of Newham Save our NHS, says the closure “doesn’t make sense”.

“Not being able to sign on with a practice locally is the number one complaint of patients in Newham because there is a crisis of capacity when it comes to GP appointments,” he said.

“I would be interested to know if an impact assessment has been done in terms of where the patients intend to be processed now. It doesn’t seem to make any sense on the face of it to be closing resources.”

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Alternatives currently being considered by the CCG include an extension of local GP hours, developing out of hours GP hubs across the borough and wider promotion of the out of hours service.

A spokeswoman for Newham CCG said: “As the local leader of the NHS, our priority is to improve access and develop quality NHS services that provide value for money. We face growing demand for health services in Newham with no additional funding and we believe that greater access to GP services in Newham is key to meeting this challenge.

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“We have yet to make a final decision on this service. One option is to not continue this walk-in service and reinvest the money to improve GP services for the whole Newham population to ensure that more people can access a GP closer to their home when they need to see one.”

She added that patient representative groups and stakeholders are being consulted on the key issues surrounding the walk-in service’s potential closure and the alternative options available.

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