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Norwich MPs calls for action to resolve NHS walk-in centre uncertainty

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 April 2014

Castle Mall ,NHS Timber Hill health centre.

Castle Mall ,NHS Timber Hill health centre.

©Archant Photographic 2010

Norwich’s two MPs have called for urgent action to address the uncertainty surrounding a busy NHS walk-in centre.

A question mark was raised about the future of the Timber Hill Health Centre after Castle Mall owners unveiled plans for a new restaurant quarter, which would make the centre homeless.

However, Norwich Practices Ltd, which runs the GP surgery and walk-in centre have rejected an offer to move from level four to level two of the mall because of the “significant additional cost” of relocating the facility.

The two MPs for Norwich have now united to try and resolve the matter to ensure that local patients do not miss out when the lease for the health centre expires in September. The purpose-built centre, which is open from 7am to 9pm, has grown from 65,000 walk-in cases in 2010 to almost 75,000 a year. The GP practice also has 8,000 registered patients on its books and is the main travel advice centre in the Norwich area.

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, has written to NHS bosses urging them to “don’t move our walk-in centre” and has called for an urgent meeting of all parties involved. She has also written to NHS England - the organisation responsible for commissioning GP services - urging them to do everything in their power to resolve the matter.

She said: “I am very concerned that the health centre may move elsewhere in the city, and particularly if an option is being considered of moving out of the city centre to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. People living to the north of the city need a convenient location for the walk-in centre facility and thousands of patients will be affected if the centre moves.”

“We fought tooth and nail to stop the walk-in centre moving from Dussindale, some years ago. A new location should surely fulfil these needs and serve my constituents to the north of the city conveniently.”

Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South, has also written to Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, asking him to intervene.

He said: “I’m very disappointed that the lease is not going to be renewed at the current site. The Timber Hill Health Centre has proved to be very popular with local people, and the walk-in provision helps to ease pressure on A&E.”

“The service it provides has been particularly successful in encouraging groups who can be reluctant to register with a GP, especially young people, to get health advice. Clear backing from NHS England for this service could make a real difference in resolving the current uncertainty.”

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  • I am a registered patient with the walk in centre as is my husband. We find it is ideal for us as we are disabled and we do our shopping at the mall as well. It is perfectly placed for those of us with limited mobility. Stop moaning about free parking and think of us disabled who rely on the centre NorwichNorfolk John. Those of us who are disabled and registered rely on it's continued location. There are thousands of us who rely on the centre's present location to continue. Mall owners will face an outcry as it is the patients keeping the mall open.

    I am ill in bed with Chronic Liver Disease and Chronic Pancreatitis.

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    Rachel Kleypas-Sparrow

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

  • If our MP's fought hard to save the Thorpe St Andrew Site then I am truly amazed.My vote goes for seeking publicity to help their 2015 Election Campaign.

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    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • This sort of centre needs to be next to a big (preferably free) car park on the outskirts and not in a city centre where the council deliberately make it as difficult as possible to drive into and park.

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    Norfolk John

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • It's got to stay in the city centre where it is accessible to everyone who lives and works in the city and is minutes away from all bus routes and parking. Putting it out to the N&N would be useless as a whole segment of the working population won't be able to access it there. And, as someone mentioned, in an age of obesity, to replace a health facility with yet more junk food outlets just beggars belief!

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    marty r

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • I personally find its location very difficult. It is very hard to park in Norwich through much of the day time anyway and you then have the expense of parking if you go at other times. I'm not saying it isn't good for people in central Norwich, but the previous site in Thorpe St Andrew was much better for Those living outside of central Norwich. I would stress though that I wouldn't want to see it closed as I agree with Simon Wright MP that this eases pressure on the A&E department at the hospital.

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    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • Madness to move this excellent city centre resource. Our Norwich MPs are right to oppose the proposal and must win this crucial battle. To keep the centre where it is and to have one less unnecessary eatery would be better for public health on all counts!

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    la barbe

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

  • This is terrible news. This centre is central so is accessible for everybody. To move it to the N+N site is a ridiculous idea. Lots of people have problems getting there now and public transport is terrible after certain hours. Also the mall saying they want a restuarant quarter is ignoring the fact that every eaterie that has opened Timberhill side has closed down! There has been an empty shop opposite the walk in centre for years!

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    Rosemary Turner

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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