ACCRINGTON’S threatened walk-in centre has been given a reprieve until late next year.

Following a lengthy campaign by patients and councillors, health bosses have proposed to keep the popular centre, at the town’s Victoria Hospital, open for a further 18 months – until October 2015.

Deputy council leader, Clare Pritchard, fought hard to save the service after the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) initially ruled out keeping the Health Access Centre as it is now. She said: “This is a victory for common sense and we are pleased the CCG have listened to the views of local people and the council before making a hasty decision.

“We are one hundred per cent committed to helping ensure that the people of Hyndburn continue to receive first class primary health care provision in the future.”

The plans to keep the centre open will go before a CCG board on Monday, March 24.

And then, during the next 18 months, the CCG will consult with the public and stakeholders about the future of primary health care provision across East Lancashire. Hyndburn Council said it was also urging NHS England to delay any decision about the future of the GP surgery at Accrington Victoria Hospital, which is also under threat.

Cabinet member for health and communities, Coun Pam Barton, said: “We are fully committed to helping ensure local people continue to receive first class primary health care in the future.

“That’s why we are also urging NHS England not to make any rash decisions about the very popular GP surgery at Accrington Victoria Hospital until 2015, so the voice of local people can be heard which will enable a considered and co-ordinated procurement process.”

Chair of East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Di van Ruitenbeek, said: “We have listened carefully to the views and concerns of local people and Hyndburn Borough Council about the GP walk-in service at Accrington Victoria Hospital.

“The recommendation to extend the contract for a further 18 months will enable us to carefully review the needs of patients across East Lancashire for out of hours services and urgent GP appointments so that we can then take a well-informed decision about the best model for the future delivery of these services.”