Operator sought for walk-in centre

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HEALTH bosses are urgently seeking a new firm to run a Leeds NHS walk-in centre and GP practice.

Almost 4,000 patients are registered at the Shakespeare Medical Centre in Burmantofts, which opened in 2009.

From March, current operator Care UK Clinical Services will no longer run it as the firm has decided not to continue when its contract ends on February 28.

A report to councillors, due to be discussed at a meeting next week, says: “This means we are now in a position where we require quick action to ensure that there is a seamless transition to a new service provider.”

The facility, based at Burmantofts Health Centre, was opened to provide more access to healthcare and houses a GP practice as well as the walk-in centre.

Around 1,750 patients a month use the walk-in centre, which is open from 8am until 8pm and available to anyone for minor ailments.

NHS England is writing to registered patients to inform them of the situation.

A tendering process to find a new provider to take on both the GP practice and the walk-in centre is now underway.

Leeds health chiefs have reassured patients and centre users that the facility will remain open despite the changes.

A spokesman for NHS England and NHS Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are actively seeking a new provider to deliver high-quality services for our patients at Shakespeare Medical Centre.

“The centre will remain open as usual.”

An NHS walk-in centre in Leeds city centre and facilities in Barnsley, Todmorden and Halifax have closed in recent years.

Others have had their opening hours cut including centres in Dewsbury, Scunthorpe and Bradford.

Health regulator Monitor has previously warned that patients could be missing out on care due to closures of the centres nationally.

Last year, it said that out of 238 walk-in centres set up in the last decade, 185 were still operating in England.