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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to meet Norwich MP over threatened walk-in health centre

PUBLISHED: 13:39 10 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:21 11 June 2014

The Timberhill entrance to Castle Mall.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

The Timberhill entrance to Castle Mall. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt is to meet Norwich North MP Chloe Smith over the city’s threatened NHS walk-in centre.

As reported, the Timber Hill Health Centre could be forced to relocate after Castle Mall unveiled plans for a new restaurant quarter in the area of the shopping centre where it is based.

The lease for the walk-in centre has not been renewed and is due to run out in September.

The five-year lease for the walk-in centre has not been renewed and is due to run out in September. Castle Mall landlords offered to help pay for a move to another site in the mall, but this was rejected by the NHS.

Hundreds have signed petitions to keep the health centre in the city centre and MPs Chloe Smith and Simon Wright have entered talks with the NHS and Castle Mall bosses.

Now Chloe Smith has secured a meeting with the Secretary of State for Health to make the case for keeping the centre at the highest level of government.

She said: “The NHS has confirmed that they want to keep the centre in the city centre, so I want to make sure the secretary of state is absolutely aware of what we need in Norwich to cover people’s health needs.”

Mr Hunt agreed to the meeting in parliamentary questions this morning, and a date is to be fixed.

Ms Smith said she is still chasing updates from the NHS and Castle Mall’s owners.

She added it is crucial that the centre is not moved out of the city as it helps relieve pressure on A&E, and people have already suffered disruption when the centre moved from Thorpe St Andrew.

Timber Hill Health Centre treats 78,000 patients a year and has a growing list of 8,000 registered patients for its GP services.

Castle Mall owners InfraRed want to attract six restaurant businesses into the Timberhill entrance area, but that means relocating the health centre to another part of the mall.

InfraRed had previously said it was in discussions with the Timber Hill Health Centre, which is run by Norwich Practices Limited, to move it from level four to a “larger and more central site” on level two near the post office.

But Katie Norton, director of commissioning for NHS England, said the decision to move had been rejected by the centre, because of the cost.

The health centre cost £2m to open in July 2009.

It employs 90 staff and has younger registered patients than many other GP practices, as it was aimed at providing health services to some harder to reach sections of the population.

It serves a high number of men aged 15-45.


  • I wonder if this is the same Health Secretary and MPs whose political parties have a policy of non intervention in private enterprise. Next they will be deciding Puppet Man's playlist and telling us what religion and nationality we should be.

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    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

  • There was no reason to believe the Castle Mall would not renew the lease for this valuable resource that treats over 100,000 LOCAL people ever year. It is their choice to remove this Walk in health centre and take away a much respected health service to replace it with some restaurants fast food or not. A curious irony when you consider the way the obesity figures are growing so drastically in this area.

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    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

  • i take it peter blyth that you always eat healthy and never eat junk food ? its all a bit premature of you thinking that the food will be "junk" and can you give us the figures for medical conditions created by junk food ? i bet not because junk food alone doesnt cause medical conditions its HOW MUCH you eat of anything that can cause a problem !!!

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    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

  • As Albert says, it was a fixed term lease so it really is a nonsense to then complain when the lease is not renewed. The local NHS are to blame for this, no one else. It seems to me that the Castle Mall owners have been generous in the amount of money they have put into this but serious questions need to be asked about the competence of the NHS individuals who signed up for this.

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    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • NHS please get the message .your lease is up anf the freeholders need their plans to be made! Just because those in charge of NHS properties have messed up don't blame anybody else,this is where the buck stops and I agree with Norfolk John ,make a small charge to visit the walk in centre and see the numbers plummet

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    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • What Norwich needs is a private 'walk in' medical centre where you can pay to see a doctor when you want. I expect such a centre would do very well indeed.

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    Norfolk John

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • So this is probably Chloe's parting shot - maybe she'll do something useful?

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    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • "Castle Mall owners InfraRed want to attract six restaurant businesses into the Timberhill entrance area." For this read, "attract more junk food outlets which will create medical conditions needing a walk in centre to treat them." Duh!!

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    peter blyth

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • Can Simon come too please. Don't be a bully

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    No to tory boy

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

  • the walk I centre is needed in the city centre as you can not get doctors appointments at week ends

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    david barnby

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

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

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