Patients in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley are advised that the walk-in GP service at White Horse, Northfleet, ends on 30 June 2020.
This is the first step towards implementing an urgent treatment centre in the area, as part of the Government’s Long Term Plan. An extensive public consultation was held last year on the preferred location of the new centre – either Gravesham Community Hospital or Darent Valley Hospital. The previous NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group considered almost 16,500 responses to the public consultation and decided, in January 2020, that it would seek to establish linked urgent treatment centres across both sites. Further information on the public consultation and the decision is available here.
In taking that decision, the previous CCG also agreed at that time that it would not extend the contract held with Fleet Healthcare to provide the walk-in GP service when it expired on 30 June 2020.
Springhead Health Surgery (previously White Horse Surgery, Gateway Surgery and The Forge Surgery) remain open as usual.
Patients who need to urgently see a GP after 30 June 2020 should contact their regular GP practice, which should be able to offer an on-the-day appointment if clinically needed. If they cannot get an appointment with their practice, they should call NHS 111 for advice and direction to the nearest available service where appropriate. Patients who are not registered with a GP practice should do so as soon as possible. Details of practices in the area are available here.
The minor injury unit at Gravesham Community Hospital, Gravesend, remains open for urgent minor injuries and some minor illnesses. For life-threatening conditions, patients should call 999.
GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Navin Kumta, said: “We are taking the next steps in the exciting journey to create linked urgent treatment centres for patients in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley across both sites, as decided earlier this year. I would like to reassure the public that they will still be able to see a GP urgently if they need to.
“We have been working hard to improve access to GP appointments for the past two years. Practices should be able to offer on the day appointments to patients who clinically need them. There is a triage system in place to help identify those patients who need to be seen on the same day. Most patients will be able to be seen by their own practice but some may be asked to visit another local surgery for their appointment.”
As a result of Covid-19, demand for the GP walk-in centre has been lower than usual since March 2020. Due to the need to prioritise the NHS response to the pandemic, planning for the linked urgent treatment centres has not progressed as quickly as envisaged.
The CCG continues to work with partners Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to design and introduce linked urgent treatment centres across the two sites in future.
Further information will follow, please come back to the CCG’s website for updates.