Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Monday, June 23, 2014
Nearly 1,000 signatures were collected on the streets of Norwich on Saturday to help save the city’s NHS walk-in centre.
Last month, the Norwich Evening News saw more than 400 patients get behind its campaign to keep a walk-in centre in the heart of the city
The future of Timber Hill Health Centre was threatened in April when the owners of Castle Mall revealed plans to create a new restaurant quarter on the level it is based in at the shopping centre.
Members of the group the Friends of Timber Hill took to the streets of Norwich on Saturday and collected 950 signatures on its petition asking the government to protect the services offered by the centre and maintain its funding beyond 2016.
Jess Asato, Labour parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, said: “The walk-in centre is a vital lifeline for people in Norwich. Currently there is no guarantee to protect the service beyond 2016.”
Timber Hill Health Centre serves an estimated 86,000 people and is the only out-of-hours GP walk-in centre in the county.
NHS chiefs have told the Norwich Evening News they are committed to keeping a centre in Norwich, but its location is not yet clear.
The preferred option of Norwich Practices Ltd (NPL) is to remain on level four of Castle Mall and extend the lease.
But InfraRed, the owners of the shopping centre, have offered to pay 40pc of the refit costs of moving to a larger empty shop unit on level two in the Mall.
This was rejected by NPL due to the costs.
The third option is to move the health centre to temporary units somewhere else in the centre of Norwich until a long-term solution is found.
To sign the Timber Hill Health Centre petition calling on NHS chiefs to do everything in their power to ensure that a walk-in centre is kept within the city centre, visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/health/timber-hill-health-centre-petition
Have you had to use the services of Timber Hill Health Centre? Email health reporter firstname.lastname@example.org