14 February 2020
The proposal to close Cricklewood walk-in service on 30 June 2020 has been approved by the primary care committees of Brent and Barnet CCGs along with a number of other recommendations to support the implementation of the decision.
Through our engagement, we have listened to the concerns of patients and know that people use the walk-in service because they find it difficult to get a timely appointment with a GP. We believe that good primary care is an essential part of improving health outcomes for local people. We have been, and will continue to develop capacity in primary care in line with our local strategy and wider aspirations within the Long Term Plan. We have reflected the importance of ensuring there is good access to primary care in the recommendations agreed.
Over the last couple of years, both Brent and Barnet CCGs have commissioned significant numbers of additional GP appointments (48,000 Barnet and 65,000 in Brent per annum) to improve access to primary care as part of the GP extended access hub services. The services are led by local GPs who have access to patient records and can refer on to other services. The majority of these appointments are on-the-day.
There is capacity in both the Brent and the Barnet GP extended access hubs, and opportunity to develop the range and number of appointments available, as funding for these services transfers to Primary Care Networks in 2021/22.
There are also other walk-in centres in Barnet that are open seven days a week which, unlike Cricklewood, provide full minor injury services including x-ray facilities. In Brent there are also Urgent Treatment Centres at Central Middlesex Hospital and Northwick Park Hospital.
In Brent, the Kilburn Hub, is one mile from Cricklewood and the Willesden Hub 1.3 miles. The closest Barnet GP extended access is Greenfield Medical Centre, which is 0.5 miles. To access your nearest hub, people should contact their own GP practice to get an appointment or call 111 who will be able to book a GP appointment if needed.
It is also important that primary care is accessible online for patients who are deemed ‘time poor’ e.g. those working longer, unsociable hours and those with caring responsibilities (for children or elderly parents). Both CCGs are making substantial investments in digital online consultations. Video consultations are currently being piloted in Brent and will be made available to patients in both boroughs in line with the national digital agenda, which is to have video consultations in place by April 2021, to improve access to primary care while ensuring timely advice and intervention is provided.
The CCGs have recognised that there is more needed to be done to ensure that people are aware of these services and that ongoing work is needed to ensure that these are appropriate locally. These, together with the need to work with local communities to monitor access issues and the implementation of the change, are reflected in the recommendations agreed today.
Sheik Auladin, Managing Director at Brent CCG, said: “We have made the difficult decision to move forward with the closure of Cricklewood walk-in service because of the increased investment and increased access that has been made in GP practices, GP access hubs and the use of online services. We now need to work harder to improve these services and make sure our local residents understand what services are available and how to access them"
You can read the full recommendation report on the Brent CCG website.