mp fights walk in centre closure threat

Leigh MP Andy Burnham
Leigh MP Andy Burnham

ANDY Burnham has vowed to fight any move by the Government to shut the walk-in centre at Leigh Infirmary.

The Shadow Health Minister has said that the centre is a key service in Leigh and that he would do everything he could to save it amid speculation that all Walk In Centres could be closed down.

Figures suggest a quarter have closed in the past year but the government say the services they offered have not been cut.

The centres were meant to relieve pressure on A&E departments by providing easy access to treatment for minor ailments.

The centre at Leigh Infirmary has as yet shown no signs of being closed, but the Labour MP for Leigh has been quick to defend the service amid speculation over its future.

Mr Burnham, said: “The Walk-In Centre at Leigh Infirmary is a popular and highly-valued service. People in Leigh shouldn’t have to travel miles to Wigan, Bolton or Warrington if they need help at evenings or weekends.

“A quarter of Walk-In Centres may have closed already but I will fight any moves by this Coalition Government to take away Leigh’s Walk-In Centre. It was the Tory Government of the early 1990s that closed our A&E and I won’t let them do the same to us again.

“David Cameron has thrown the NHS into chaos with his re-organisation.

“Popular services are closing all over the country – and the Government claims not to know anything about it – while others are being privatised. I will do whatever I can to defend Leigh’s NHS from this shambolic Government.”

The Government says these services are still available when the centres are relocated to hospitals – but critics say patients have to join long queues at A&E or make an appointment rather than simply being able to walk in off the street and see a nurse or doctor.

In recent months, WWL have repeatedly asked people to use the centre in Leigh after mounting pressure brought chaos to the A&E department at Wigan Infirmary.

The Department of Health says it does not have data on how many walk-in centres have been closed, but analysis of weekly NHS hospital activity statistics show there were 75 non-hospital providers of emergency care in June 2012, which could also include urgent care units.