August 27 2014 Latest news:
Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
More than 400 patients have got behind an Evening News petition calling on NHS chiefs to keep a walk-in centre in the heart of Norwich.
This week is Local Newspaper Week. Organised by the Newspaper Society, the theme for the week is Making a Difference, which aims to highlight the power of local newspapers to campaign for positive change in the communities they serve.
And what better way to illustrate how the Norwich Evening News and its readers can facilitate change than our petition to keep the NHS walk-in centre in the heart of Norwich.
Hundreds of patients have got behind the Norwich Evening News petition which was launched after the owners of Castle Mall unveiled plans for a restaurant quarter on level four of the shopping centre.
To the left, are just some of the views of Norwich Evening News readers.
A question mark was raised over the future of Timber Hill Health Centre last month as a result of plans by the owners of Castle Mall to create a new restaurant quarter on level four of the shopping mall.
The situation prompted the Evening News to launch a petition two weeks ago calling on NHS England to do everything in its power to keep a walk-in centre in Norwich.
Since then, 425 people from across Norfolk have signed online or paper petitions to air their support for Timber Hill Health Centre, which is the only out-of-hours GP surgery and walk-in centre in the county.
NHS chiefs have made a commitment to keep a centre in Norwich. However, where that will be is still up in the air.
The preferred option of Norwich Practices Ltd (NPL) is to stay on level four of the Mall and extend the lease.
However, 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 of the Mall, which has been rejected by NPL because of the costs.
The third option is to move the health centre to temporary units somewhere in the city centre until a long-term solution can be found.
➔ John Stevens, of Thorpe Hamlet, said: “I and my family have used this service on a number of occasions especially when our own doctor’s surgery was closed. My children have also decided that it is better and more convenient for them to register at Timber Hill.”
➔ Alice Hewitt, of Fiddlewood Road, Norwich, said: “It has been invaluable when my daughter was poorly out of hours and also easily accessible for me when I was unable to drive.”
➔ Don Chambers, of Ipswich Road, Norwich, said: “Essential service for Norwich. I found this service most helpful as a visitor prior to moving to the city. They were able to prescribe medication in an emergency.”
➔ Stephen Wassell, of Scoles Green, said: “Both my wife and I have significant health issues and it would be difficult to go to a different GP further away from where we presently live. The doctors and the nurses at the health centre do a great job and it would be ridiculous to lose such a valuable city centre resource just to have more places to eat.”
➔ Richard Baileff, of Spynke Road, Norwich, said: “I have used the centre three times and found it to be a useful and vital treatment centre. There should be a place to go for treatment in the city centre – the old N&N should not have been closed in the first place, but kept as a health centre.”
➔ Marley Pullinger, of Waddington Street, Norwich, said: “Cannot believe the closure of the walk-in centre is even being considered so that a restaurant section can be put in. The walk-in centre provides so much more value to the local community and needs to be kept on for the benefit of the residents who use it.”
➔ Don Pearson, of Horsford, said: “The location has worked very well for patients, especially for people who work in Norwich but cannot get an appointment easily with their own doctor. The Mall location is perfect for this and so many people now rely on it.”
➔ Julie Brown, of Gage Road, said: “I have used this walk-in centre many times – especially for blood tests as my own doctor’s medical practice does not do them any more. I find the location easy to get to using buses as I don’t drive. I have found the staff very friendly and helpful – especially when I have taken my young daughter and myself for urgent medical help.”
➔ Kate Bason, of Waterloo Park Close, Norwich, said: “My medical centre does not have a phlebotomist, so I go to Timber Hill where I can be seen early in the morning, so I don’t have to take time off work.”
➔ Nicky Holloway, of Diss, said: “I know a lot of people who use this, not only people who live in or around the city. It’s also handy for people who work in Norwich.”
➔ John Hewitt, of Mulbarton, said: “It needs to be kept in the city. It is an important point of call for so many people who stand no chance of seeing a GP when they need to see one. Many people have to wait one to two weeks to get an appointment at their local surgery.”
➔ Emily Etheridge, of Mulbarton, said: “I have used this facility three times in the past 18 months for a quick diagnosis and prescription. It’s quick easy and efficient. If it wasn’t there I would have to wait and bother busy doctors and nurses at the hospital A&E department. A city centre location for a walk-in centre is a necessity.”
➔ Marie James, of Toftwood, Dereham, said: “We need to keep the walk-in centre! It’s so convenient for parents who can’t drive.
➔ Daniel Burwitz, of Cavalier Close, Norwich, said: “Good opening hours, central location, access to medical advice within hours. Finally, the walk-in centre has been moved away from Dussindale. Now, it needs to stay in the city centre.”