Most AIDS patiens are happy with unit's relocation

In response to Katie Davies s report (Patients face a long trip as vital HIV clinic closes, H&H, Sept 20) on the relocation of HIV services from Archway Sexual Health Clinic to the Bloomsbury Clinic, I would first like to correct the statement that there

In response to Katie Davies's report (Patients face a long trip as vital HIV clinic closes, H&H, Sept 20) on the relocation of HIV services from Archway Sexual Health Clinic to the Bloomsbury Clinic, I would first like to correct the statement that there will now only be one specialised HIV clinic in Camden.

There will, in fact, be two very large centres still based in Camden - the Bloomsbury Clinic at the Mortimer Market Centre and the Ian Charleson Unit at the Royal Free.

The proposed relocation aims to deliver an improvement to the quantity and quality of services for those patients who have been attending Archway by providing a far wider range of appointment times as well as easier access to in-house specialist services.

These services are already being used by Archway patients, since they have to visit the Bloomsbury for any specialist appointments or on-call doctor services, and so it will only make the patient pathway a shorter and simpler one.


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I would also point out that this move is not "despite patient numbers increasing by 20 per cent each year at the Archway centre" but because of it.

With the continued increase, it would have been impossible to provide the same service at such a small local centre.

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And, given the fact that HIV services are specialist in nature, it is entirely appropriate to have a larger and more centralised service deal with it - rather than small local clinics which then need to refer patients back to the larger clinic for anything other than basic blood tests and regular doctors' appointments.

And yes, of course in the long- term this will also save the PCT money. But it will not be at the expense of providing a better quality of service to patients.

We have consulted widely with service users. From the 140 responses from Archway patients about the proposed changes, 117 said they were OK with the move, nine had some concerns and 11 were shocked or upset by the change. Fifteen patients said it would be easier to get to, against seven who said that it would be further to travel. Out of all 140, only two had decided not to make the change to the Bloomsbury.

Garry Brough

Bloomsbury Patient Representative

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