Plan to axe Hillside Bridge health centre in Barkerend criticised by shadow health minister Andy Burnham (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Plan to axe Hillside Bridge health centre in Barkerend criticised by shadow health minister Andy Burnham
A shadow minister has waded into the debate over an axe-threatened walk-in health centre.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has spoken out against proposals to close Hillside Bridge health centre in Barkerend, Bradford.
The centre was the first of its kind in the country to provide medical advice seven days a week for those who didn’t have a GP or could not get an appointment. It was followed by 151 more, in a national £250 million investment by the previous Labour government aimed at making GPs more accessible.
But, as the Telegraph and Argus reported earlier this week, health bosses are now considering closing the centre. Mr Burnham said: “Closing popular and successful NHS walk-in centres leaves worried patients with no alternative but to turn to A&E. Now A&E units up and down the country are reaching breaking point, with a million extra visitors in the last year and over 1,000 nursing jobs axed in Yorkshire alone.
“GP surgeries are starting to shut their doors earlier too. David Cameron promised patients would be able to get evening appointments, but things are heading in the opposite direction.”
Bowling and Barkerend ward councillor Hassan Khan (Lab) agreed, saying: “Hillside Bridge health centre coming under threat is extremely concerning. I fear for the consequences for my constituents if it closes, so I welcome Andy Burnham’s intervention.”
Health bosses are considering four options for the centre – axeing it entirely, running it on a reduced budget, moving it to another location such as an A&E department, or commissioning an alternative service which would only serve patients who didn’t have a GP.
Its contract ends in November, by which time NHS Bradford and Airedale, which oversees GP surgeries, will have been replaced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). A report by Vicki Wallace, commissioning manager of Bradford Districts CCG, said the centre was not serving enough hard-to-reach people, such as the homeless or travellers.