Last week I was briefed about the proposed closure of the Bitterne Walk-in Centre. Since then I have received some further information from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It sheds more light on their thinking but it doesn’t explain how £1.4m is needed for 12 staff and what appear to be relatively inexpensive overheads. I am waiting for the rest of my questions to be answered and I accept that may take a little longer.

I asked about the additional government money to help with the additional winter pressures and about the medical staff redeployment. I also asked about the cost of the building and what plans the CCG have for a public consultation.

I have been busy looking for alternative solutions or a compromise and I will update you when I have more information. 

What I have sought to do throughout is keep politics out of this. I am very disappointed that my political opponent has not shown the same restraint and has instead used this as a personal political opportunity.


The following are the answers I have received thus far from the CCG:

      ”£150K that the CCG has identified from within our existing allocation and which we have been discussing with Solent for a few weeks as to how best to deploy this sum to relieve pressure on the services”. 

         ”£100K that has been identified by the CCG and local partners to support primary care as part of the ‘Operational Resilience and Capacity Planning’ (ORCP) process whereby the NHS locally is allocated some additional (non-recurrent) funding (£1.5M in total) by the Department of Health (the so called winter pressures money, around £400M announced by the Secretary of State earlier in the summer)”.

“As you can see, these sums are reasonably substantial but considerably less than the amount that would be available to redeploy from the walk in centre (albeit we are only talking, this part year, about half of the £1.4M we currently spend on that service, less fixed overheads, despite the inaccurate coverage in the Echo).  We feel that, in order to make a real difference this winter, we need to put as much resource as possible into the community nursing services that support frail older people (and many others) in their own homes.

We can only redeploy the currently employed nurses into other roles.  However, if we stop paying for the agency nurses (and we can do this if the service is suspended), this releases that money to redeploy to the community nursing teams – it does still depend on being able to recruit more nurses and this is a challenge for Solent. 

The Health Centre currently houses a range of services (including some child health services and a GP surgery), some of which already use the rooms used by the walk in centre at different times of the week.  I am sure Solent colleagues can provide more comprehensive information on this.  We are also preparing more briefing material in the form of FAQs that we will make freely available to address queries such as this.”