Passionate plea to keep Putnoe Walk-in Centre open

Councillor Charles Royden
Councillor Charles Royden

A passionate plea has been made to keep Putnoe Walk-in Centre open.

The future of the centre hangs in the balance with plans to either move it Bedford Hospital north wing site in Kimbolton Road or scrap it altogether.

Bedford Borough Council’s deputy mayor Lib Dem councillor Charles Royden told a Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group meeting that they want the walk-in centre to continue.

At present the facility is available until October this year, but talks are taking place to decide its long-term future.

Speaking at yesterday’s CCG meeting (May 3), councillor Royden said: “We would like an assurance from you about the walk-in-centre and I plead with you for that assurance.

“It would be absurd if thousands of residents lose that facility.

“It should continue from October 1st, especially when representatives of all the political parties joined hands to say it should happen.”

Speaking after the meeting, councillor Royden said it isn’t just residents of north Bedford who benefit, but everyone in the surrounding villages north of the river.

The CCG has been working with partners in Bedford to meet the health service needs of the local population.

NHS England says the CCG has to provide an urgent treatment centre in the town, where minor illness and injury can be treated, without putting extra pressure on accident and emergency at Bedford Hospital.

But the centre has to be near facilities where patients can get an X-ray, have a blood test or provide a urine sample.

The CCG has indicated that the only suitable premises is the Cauldwell Medical Centre on the site of Bedford Hospital south wing.

But councillor Royden said having the centre north of the river is vital, adding: “Where exactly it goes isn’t important.

“It’s critical for residents of north Bedfordshire, not just surrounding the site, but from villages and rural areas as well.”