Peterborough walk-in centre to be relocated despite public overwhelmingly opposing the move

Peterborough’s walk-in centre is to be re-located to the city hospital despite the public overwhelmingly opposing the move.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 2:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 5:47 pm

However, the decision to transfer the Urgent Treatment Centre and the GP Out of Hours services from the City Care Centre in Thorpe Road will be delayed until next year.

Originally, the re-location was due to take place before the winter but will now not occur before April 2021.

The decision was made by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at its governing body meeting on Tuesday despite 62 per cent of people (691) responding to a public consultation on the proposals opposing the move.

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The Urgent Treatment Centre and GP Out of Hours services are to be re-located from the City Care Centre in Thorpe Road

In comparison, 304 out of the 1,107 people who gave their views (28 per cent) agreed with the plans, while 112 (10 per cent) were unsure.

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CEO Sandie Smith said: “We are pleased that the CCG have taken the decision not to move this service until next year. This takes account of people’s worries; we agree with the people we heard from that this is not the right time to move services to a hospital site.

“By April next year we should be in a better place regarding Covid-19 and hopefully hospitals will be under less pressure.

“The delay also enables the building works to be fully completed and plans to be put in to place to monitor the parking situation.”

Dr Gary Howsam, chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re very grateful to our community who shared their feedback and we plan to re-locate the Urgent Treatment Centre to Peterborough City Hospital sometime next year.

“We have listened to the concerns raised by the public through the consultation process and agreed that the re-location will not happen until at least April 1, 2021.”

“Moving these services to one place will now mean people only need to travel to one location for their urgent and emergency health needs, rather than trying to work out which service is the right one for them.

“This additional timescale also gives us more time to plan the building work and for more work to be done, working with the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust and Peterborough City Council on sustainable travel plans for this area.”

The re-location will end emergency health provision in the city centre but will provide a single point of care for patients which will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It is hoped this will help reduce the numbers visiting the city hospital’s Emergency Department as patients can be re-directed to a different service in the same building.

Patients visiting the hospital in Bretton will be met by a trained clinician who will direct them to the most appropriate service, while appointments can also be pre-booked.

The consultation also revealed that two-thirds of respondents (67 per cent) preferred the current set-up then having a single, 24/7 hospital-based access point for advice and treatment.

The CCG said the delayed timeframe for the move will ensure that “segregation planning and estates work” are completed and to allow for parking and traffic flow to be monitored.

Moreover, a working group has been set up to look at how to use the vacated space in Thorpe Road, which could include hospital outpatient clinics and/or primary care services being moved in there.

Parking/transport

The consultation report revealed concerns over travel and parking.

It stated: “By far the predominant issue raised by this consultation was the issue of parking at the Peterborough City Hospital site.

“People told us about congestion at the site and the difficulty in finding a parking space at busy times.

The CCG said that an additional 112 car parking spaces were created at the hospital in March, and that with 45 per cent of outpatient appointments now carried out virtually there were around 5,000 fewer patient visits a month.

It added: “As there are no plans to change this way of working, even post Covid-19 pandemic, there will be far fewer people attending the hospital resulting in much greater capacity in the hospital car parks.

“The congestion seen pre-pandemic is not expected to be repeated.”

The consultation also noted that residents believe the current centre is in a “very accessible location for people who walk there or need to take public transport.

“People felt this was an important point to realise as people would need to take more than one bus to reach Peterborough City Hospital in Bretton”.

The CCG responded: “Previous travel survey data tells us that very few people travel to the Urgent Treatment Centre on foot, or by bus. The buses that travel along Thorpe Road do not stop very close to the City Care Centre and therefore people are still expected to walk some distance.

“The buses to the Peterborough City Hospital site stop at the doors to the hospital.

“The majority of people who attend the Urgent Treatment Centre or need to attend the GP Out of Hours services do so by car.”