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Hornsey walk-in centre closure could put patients at risk

PUBLISHED: 13:52 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 07 September 2010

Hornsey Central Neighbourhood Health Clinic in Park Road, Crouch End

Hornsey Central Neighbourhood Health Clinic in Park Road, Crouch End

DOCTORS at a walk-in centre due to be closed by health chiefs say patients are being put at risk because the Primary Care Trust is not letting people know the service is being axed. The Broadway revealed last week how the facility at the Hornsey Central N

DOCTORS at a walk-in centre due to be closed by health chiefs say patients are being put at risk because the Primary Care Trust is not letting people know the service is being axed.

The Broadway revealed last week how the facility at the Hornsey Central Neighbourhood Health Clinic, which only opened in February, was being closed down by NHS Haringey.

GP surgery hours for registered patients at the Queenswood Medical Practice - which operates the walk-in clinic - are also being slashed to save funds, meaning a third of staff at the practice are set to lose their jobs.

Staff at the Hornsey polyclinic on Park Road in Crouch End were told the walk-in service - which only began in February as a pilot - and extended GP hours were set to be stopped on September 1 with just under a month's notice.

Both services were open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week - now there will be no walk-in centre and GP hours for registered patients will no longer take place on Saturday afternoon or evening or all day Sunday.

Last month, 700 patients with complaints about everything from severe illness to minor injuries turned up for treatment at the walk-in clinic - more than 20 people a day on average - and on some recent Saturdays more than 60 patients have been treated there.

A source at the surgery said staff are now concerned about what will happen if even a percentage of these people are unaware of the changes and turn up requiring treatment that they are no longer able to give come September 1.

She said: "We are waiting for the PCT to pull together their communication strategy with the patients. So far we have not seen any evidence of that - there has been no signage put up and we don't know whether they have done a patient consultation yet.

"We are trying to carry on seeing walk-in patients until the end of the month and trying to get the message across that unfortunately the service will be discontinuing but we are really not getting much guidance from the PCT. This could put patients at risk and it also puts us at risk.

"We would never, ever want to turn away patients, but it makes the situation fairly unsafe and high risk and we are very concerned about that."

A spokesman from NHS Haringey said a team had now sent a group down to the practice to discuss the way forward in communicating with patients.

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