11:21AM, Tuesday 12 October 2021
The future of the minor injury and illness walk-in centre at Upton Hospital in Slough remains in doubt.
The facility, in Albert Street, has been closed since April last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group suspended the service to reduce the number of face-to-face appointments with patients encouraged to report their health concerns by phone or online first.
But calls are now being made for the walk-in centres in Slough and Maidenhead to reopen so residents can access same-day care.
Cookham resident Michelle Simmonds, whose husband Fred suffers from multiple health conditions, said the continued closure means her nearest minor injuries services are now in Bracknell, Henley or High Wycombe.
She said: “My husband Albert is 78, he’s 6ft and pushing him in a wheelchair is a long journey.
“I don’t think they’ve looked into the equality, diversity or inclusion to that service when you’ve got to go as far as Bracknell, Henley or High Wycombe to gain that service.
“If I need to get to any of those places that’s going to cost me a minimum of £50, that’s a lot of money to access the NHS.”
Michelle Simmonds and her husband Fred are calling for minor injuries services in Maidenhead and Slough to reopen. Ref: 133901-4
A spokesman for the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said the decision to suspend the walk-in service at St Mark’s, Maidenhead, and Upton Hospital had allowed staff to be redeployed to support same day access in primary care.
A statement said: “The services previously provided at St Marks Urgent Care Centre and Slough Walk-In Centre are now available via GP practices, NHS 111 and the additional Frimley-wide minor injury pathway.
“This ensures all patients continue to access safe and timely care while providing the NHS with the necessary resilience.”
The spokesman said patients can also access the accident and emergency department at Wexham Park Hospital.
The statement added that the decision was taken in line with a national approach where virtual assessments, by phone or online, are carried out before face-to-face appointments to keep patients and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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