Public summit on future of health services in Bedford

Cllrs Anthony Forth and Jade Uko outside Putnoe Walk In Centre
Cllrs Anthony Forth and Jade Uko outside Putnoe Walk In Centre

Health bosses will hold a public meeting on plans for a major shake-up of services next week.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which oversees healthcare across the county, is planning to close Putnoe Walk-In Centre and replace it with an Urgent Treatment Centre at Bedford Hospital.

But local councillors say that bosses are trying to “bury” the consultation by holding it almost four miles from the centre and during the school holidays.

Councillor Anthony Forth, who is executive member 
for adult social care and 
operational housing at 
Bedford Borough Council, said: “This is a disgrace. 
The meeting is taking place three-and-a-half miles from Putnoe Walk-in Centre. It’s in a completely different 
postcode.

“There are two church halls and a community 
centre locally the CCG could have used.

“We need a consultation event here.”

While the CCG have now said that minibuses will be provided to take people to the meeting, Cllr Forth said that was a poor substitute to 
having a more local venue.

Fellow Labour councillor Jade Uko added: “Not only is the event difficult to reach, it’s being held on August 13, when many people are on holiday or looking after children during the school break.

“The CCG promised 
people in the north of Bedford a walk-in centre.

“They have broken that promise and they are trying to bury the public consultation.”

The scheme to close Putnoe Walk-In Centre has long been controversial, with Cllr Forth and Uko leading the opposition.

The centre had been due to close in March but instead was given a six-month reprieve, albeit with different opening times.

Under the current plans, there would also be a new 
‘Extended Access’ 
programme, offering 500 
extra GP appointments 
every week delivered out of two hubs -one in the north of Bedford and one in the south.

Alan Streets, Bedfordshire CCG’s accountable 
officer said: “I would encourage residents to join us for the meeting and complete our questionnaire so that they can make their voice heard.”

The meeting will take place on Monday (August 13), at Kings House, 245 Ampthill Road, from 6.45-8.45pm.

Minibuses will leave Samra Supermarket, Putnoe Walk-In Centre, and Aldi Supermarket car park at 6.10pm.

To book place email 
enquiries@healthwatchbedfordborough.co.uk or call 01234 718018.

Residents are also invited to take part in the consultation online by completing a questionnaire, available along with more information, on the CCG website www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/Putnoewic