Sunderland urgent care changes: What you said as closure of three walk-in services confirmed

Keep Our NHS Public campaign group last protest before the final Sunderland CCG Governing Body public meeting.
Keep Our NHS Public campaign group last protest before the final Sunderland CCG Governing Body public meeting.

Patients have been having their say on the future of health services across Wearside as changes to walk-in services were approved.

Walk-in facilities at Bunny Hill, Houghton and Washington will be scrapped in favour of a more centralised operation at Pallion, despite objections from across the city.

Pallion Health Centre, Hylton Road.

Pallion Health Centre, Hylton Road.

The changes were approved by Sunderland Clinical Commissiong Group’s (CCG) governing body at a meeting on Tuesday, along with a concession which will see the introduction of minor injuries treatment at both Washington and Houghton.

Patients requiring urgent care will have to attend an urgent treatment centre at Pallion Health Centre, between 10am and 10pm Monday to Friday and 8am and 10pm on weekends and bank holidays, or one of five extended access services located throughout the city after calling NHS 111.

This is instead of patients just turning up for treatment at one of the centres.

Click here to see a full list of available services, and concerns that were raised by the public during consultation.

Speaking after the meeting, Dr Ian Pattison, chair for NHS Sunderland CCG, thanked the public who took part and shared their views during the 16-week consultation.

He added: “Our role in the NHS is to ensure that we are providing the best possible healthcare with the resources that we have.

“In making our decision we have taken into consideration the feedback from members of the public.”

There will also be 45,000 GP appointments per year, through the Sunderland Extended Access Service, which replaces the walk-ins.

The meeting took place on Tuesday.

The meeting took place on Tuesday.

Here is how you reacted to the news on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:

Wendy Hall Smith: “Why the hell keep the one open that’s right next door to the hospital? surely it makes more sense to keep the ones that are out in communities who have a long travel to get to hospital facilities.”

Belinda Outhwaite: “Can take up to three weeks if not longer to see a GP at the best of times. Extended hours is not going to ease the load at all! You will find more and more people going straight to A&E which is why the drop-in centres opened in the first place!”

Simon Boyson: “Gotta love democracy. We were all asked our thoughts. We all said we didn’t want the closures. Yet they still close them.”

Victoria Wilkinson: “Where is the common sense? Closing Washington? Not been open long and with no transport it is the easiest to get to. If you’re needing to go to urgent care you’re not wanting to be sitting on multiple buses and taxis are expensive.”

Vivienne Young: “How will people out of the centre of Sunderland be better served by this! Disgraceful!”

Hayley Smith: “Seems like such a waste of time, money and resource setting these services up!”

Maureen Harrison: “Really disappointed at their decision, been to care centre a few times when I couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment.”

Gavin Milky Myers: “Wasn’t that the point of them in the first place? To better serve the community, given their locations. Purpose built less than a decade ago and now what? Back to how it was originally.”
Related content: Three walk-in services will close as overhaul of urgent care in Sunderland is approved

Beverley Mitchell: “The urgent care centres offer an excellent service. More people will just turn up at A&E. Just watch.”
Thomas Fergie Ferguson: “A&E departments will be overrun.”

Ann Smith: “What an ill thought out plan? These fabulous new buildings cost how much?”

Gaynor Mckenzie: “Disaster waiting to happen.”

Dave Ford: “They may have listened to the public but then totally ignored them.”

Ronnie Johnson: “Òur country coming to a standstill what’s next.”

Paul Brewis: “Pity help the 111 service, local GPs, and local service users, those systems are already under pressure!”

Susan Walton: “They’ve not thought about people who are not mobile or busy mothers. The drop in centres were ideal for them. They’ve clearly not thought about how people are going to get to the only ones that are left open. And as for extended appointments with doctors you’re lucky to get appointment for the next week.”

Christine Barrass: “This is disgusting, why close these buildings when the public depends on them so much.”

David Stephenson: “I thought these were put in place to relieve volume from the NHS - A&E.”