Campaign launched to save Accrington hospital
PATIENTS and councillors have launched a campaign to save services at Accrington Victoria Hospital, which are likely to come under threat from NHS budget cuts.
The hospital’s popular GP walk-in centre is feared to be most at risk, as it was overspent by £1million last year.
East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group is currently consulting on primary care in the borough, and pledged to take patients’ views into account before any decisions are made.
Clare Pritchard, deputy leader of Hyndburn Council, has urged people to sign a petition against any cuts at the Haywood Road site.
She said: “This is potentially the biggest change to local primary health care provision for many years and is a big deal for Hyndburn people.
“The walk-in centre at Accrington Victoria Hospital is a popular and valuable service, with more than 35,000 people using it last year, from our local population of 80,000.
“We feel to lose it would be the thin end of the wedge as we fear Hyndburn would eventually lose Accrington Victoria altogether.”
Russ McLean, chairman of the Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, said: “The centre was originally opened to improve acccess to GP services, and that’s what it’s done.
“Closing it would be absolutely scandalous.
“Where will all the patients go?
“Hyndburn has always seemed the poor cousin of Blackburn and Burnley, and it’s so important that it keeps this sevice.”
The walk-in centre was opened in 2009, offering patients the chance to see a GP without needing to make an appointment, but the current contract for the service ends in October 2014.
Health chiefs are considering whether improved GP and out-of-hours services might be able to fill in, instead.
To take part in the consultation, visit www.eastlancs ccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/ accrington-health-access-centre To sign the petition, visit http://chn.ge/GRm8aR
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