Six month extension for Putnoe medical walk in centre - but doubts remain over long-term future

The Putnoe Walk In Centre provides urgent care to approximately 35,000 patients each year
The Putnoe Walk In Centre provides urgent care to approximately 35,000 patients each year

The walk-in Putnoe Medical Centre has been given a six-month reprieve – but its future remains uncertain.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed to extend the contract while a new Urgent Treatment Centre is set up in Bedford.

The contract had been due to run out at the end of March, and with no alternative provisions seemingly put in place, more than 5,000 people signed a petition calling for it to remain open.

Dr Alvin Low, clinical chair at Bedfordshire CCG said: "We are committed to making sure patients in Bedford can access the care they need at the right time and in the right place.

"The Putnoe Walk In Centre is a much valued service and will continue to run until 30 September 2018, when the new Urgent Treatment Centre will open at a different location.

"We are grateful for the support and flexibility of the Partners at Putnoe Medical Centre and look forward to working closely with them as we transition from the Walk In Centre to a new facility in Bedford.

"Over the coming months, we will engage with local communities to provide information about the new service and ensure that patients’ views are considered in all decisions.

"The Putnoe Medical Centre provides very good quality care for its patients. The contract for their registered patients will continue for the next 3-5 years and is not affected by the changes to the Walk In Centre.”

But senior political figures remain concerned that it could still close in future.

Mohammad Yasin MP said: "Walk in centres provide a vital service. An urgent treatment centre on the hospital site should be a positive, but it should not be to the detriment of much needed services elsewhere.

"There is room - and a need - for both an urgent treatment centre at the hospital and a walk in centre at Putnoe . I’ll continue to make that case alongside Labour colleagues."

And Councillor Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for public health at Bedford Borough Council, added: "I am pleased that the CCG have confirmed no service gap, but nonetheless adamant that the walk in centre should remain, working alongside any enhanced urgent care provision on the hospital site."