Whitechapel NHS walk-in centre to close

An NHS walk-in centre in Whitechapel which helps patients access care without needing a doctor’s appointment is to close on December 13.

The Barts and the London NHS Trust says improvements in access to GP services in the borough has reduced the need for the centre in Whitechapel Road.

It says services will be relocated to GPs and pharmacists in Tower Hamlets.

But Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, reacted angrily to the news saying she had not been consulted on the changes. She said she would urgently be seeking answers as to why the centre is closing.

She said: “I will ask the trust to provide an explanation on this because it’s unacceptable to not be informed about such big decisions.”

The walk-in centre, next to the Royal London Hospital, is nurse-led and allows patients out-of-hours access with opening hours until 10pm.

Its five GPs and 12 nurses will move to the Royal London’s A&E department.

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A trust spokesman said: “Historically, some patients in Tower Hamlets had trouble accessing primary care. “The centre was opened as an interim solution to this problem while the wider issue of GP access was addressed.

“It was never intended to be the permanent solution.

“Patients with minor illnesses are better served by being registered with a local GP where their conditions can be monitored and continuity of care achieved.”