Health bosses at NHS Norfolk and Waveney have listened to feedback provided by local people about the future of the Norwich Walk-in Centre and are recommending it stays open.
The news comes as the organisation today publishes the report into findings from the General Practice Services in Norwich consultation.
NHS Norfolk and Waveney consulted on plans for general practice services in the Norwich area when the contract for the Norwich Walk-in Centre, Vulnerable Adults Service – Inclusion Health Hub and GP Practice at Rouen Road expires in March 2024.
Feedback received from members of the public who completed the survey and the stakeholders potentially affected by the change (including healthcare and local authorities) strongly indicated the desire for the Walk-in Centre to remain open.
Taking this into account, as well as the wider landscape of primary care provision in Norfolk and Waveney, NHS Norfolk and Waveney is recommending that the Walk-in Centre remains open and that a new contract for these services (the Walk-in Centre, Vulnerable Adults Service – Inclusion Health Hub and GP Practice at Rouen Road) is commissioned when the current one expires in March 2024 (Option 1 in the consultation).
The nine-week consultation closed on 26 March 2023 after receiving an ‘enormous’ volume of responses from the public, patients, and wider stakeholders.
The final report summarising the responses and feedback received is now ready for publication. Click here to download the report.
Sadie Parker, Director of Primary Care at NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said “Firstly, thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views during this consultation, both digitally and in writing.
“We received an enormous response from both individuals and other stakeholders working in health and care, and all your feedback has been invaluable in helping us to learn what’s important for patients regarding their healthcare, and how they’d like to see general practice services delivered in future.
“We have been listening very carefully to what people have been saying throughout this consultation, which has been captured in detail in this final report which I am pleased to publish today.
“During this consultation we heard how strongly local people and the wider community feel about the Norwich Walk-in Centre. I am pleased to confirm that we have listened to all the feedback received and are recommending to keep the Walk-in Centre open, and indeed look at ways to create additional capacity at this facility.”
In addition to keeping the Walk-in Centre open, NHS Norfolk and Waveney would like to investigate what capacity could potentially be released from the GP practice at Rouen Road to create additional patient capacity at the Walk-in Centre.
The GP practice at Rouen Road currently operates longer hours than other GP practices in Norfolk and Waveney. Health bosses are suggesting a proposal to look at reducing the practice’s current opening hours, which are 8am-8pm, seven days per week, and potentially bringing that in line with the core opening hours of other GP practices, which are 8am-6.30pm, Monday to Friday. The savings made from this reduction could be invested to create additional patient access to primary medical care through the Walk-in Centre and reduce duplication of services.
A separate period of data analysis and engagement with the patients registered at the practice would be required to explore this before a decision could be made to go ahead.
The recommendation to keep the Walk-in Centre open is being shared today with the Norfolk Health and Oversight Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) in advance of its next meeting in public on 1 June, as well as with Norfolk and Waveney’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee (PCCC) in advance of its next meeting in public on 9 May.
A final decision on the recommendation to keep the Walk-in Centre open will be made by the Board of NHS Norfolk and Waveney on 30 May.