Row over future of Corby’s Urgent Care Centre continues

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Making Corby’s Urgent Care Centre appointment-only should have been consulted on before a decision was taken, according to a campaign group.

The move was approved by Corby CCG’s governing body at the end of January, with the site being renamed the Same Day Access Hub.

Official Hansard documents show an assurance was given in Parliament that changes would be consulted on - but the CCG say the plans did not require consultation because ‘no major service change was taking place’.

But Maria Bryan, from the Save Our Urgent Care Centre action group, disagrees.

She said: “I think the people of Corby not having a walk-in service is a massive change in service.

“How can it not be?

“The CCG seems to be backpedalling quite a lot.

“Before Christmas they announced they were going to carry out a full consultation.

“Then all of a sudden they don’t have to.”

Maria added that the action group had put in a new legal challenge over the change.

A spokesman for the CCG said it was agreed that the changes were not major.

The spokesman said: “The petition referred to the potential closure of the UCC, and therefore the answer given in Parliament to that previous concern remains valid – but this proposal is actually about how to make things work better.

“NHS Corby CCG would therefore have carried out a formal public consultation if major service changes had been proposed for Corby UCC.

“The local overview and scrutiny committee agreed with us that as no major service changes are taking place, a formal public consultation is not needed.

“We will therefore instead continue to involve patients and the wider public to shape the continued improvement in services provided across Corby.”

The CCG said appointments will be arranged by specially trained navigators to ensure people are booked into the right service.

The spokesman added: “A public consultation is only ever carried out following a proposal to change services and not beforehand.

“Last year NHS Corby CCG ran a three-phase engagement process which reached more than 1,500 people face to face and had 20,000 contacts.

“The themes which emerged were that people wanted to retain a local urgent service, and that they found it hard to get GP appointments.

“When these views were fed into our local NHS plans it became clear that our proposed new ‘Same Day Access Hub’ would effectively offer the same services as those currently provided by the Urgent Care Centre, meaning a public consultation was not required.”

Corby CCG held its most recent governing body meeting on Tuesday (February 27).

Maria added that the CCG refused to answer their questions as they “weren’t received on time” - despite being sent 10 minutes before the deadline.

She said they had been told to instead put the questions in under the Freedom of Information Act to outsourced NHS NEL CSU.

The action group set up a petition to rescind the centre’s “downgrading” - which can be viewed here - that has almost 1,500 signatures.

The CCG says it is continuing to involve local people and will include the local population’s views on how the new access arrangements should work.

Until April 8, people can participate online or by completing and posting a printed questionnaire.

Public input will feed directly into the access and navigation elements of the contract specification for the hub service.