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Super surgery planned for Battersea axed

by Paul Cahalan
Wandsworth Guardian (online) 8 February 2010

Patients could be forced to walk nearly a mile between surgeries to get x-ray results after plans for a new super surgery in Battersea were shelved, campaigners have claimed.

NHS Wandsworth, the borough’s health authority, last week said it was ditching plans to build a polyclinic, which included several GP surgeries and other services, in Grant Road, despite trumpeting the project last year.

Frozen budgets mean it has now opted for GP and walk-in healthcare services at a new facility by Clapham Junction station, while diagnostic and outpatient services will be provided from St John’s Therapy Centre in East Hill.

Wandsworth Link, a health body representing patients’ interests, said stretching the surgeries over two sites was a mistake and has asked the council’s health and overview scrutiny committee to investigate.

Chairman Roger Appleton said: “What this means is for any urgent healthcare which requires the use of equipment such as x-rays, patients will be expected first to attend the GP clinic at Clapham Junction Station, then to travel to St John’s Therapy Centre for the x-ray and then back to the Clapham Junction clinic to discuss the results.”

He said proposals should now face public scrutiny, and the committee, which meets on February 16, should look at whether the purpose-built centre in Grant Road should still go ahead and whether the current split-site proposal should be abandoned.

As well as a smaller centre at Grant Road, plans for concentrated health services at the Brocklebank Health Centre, Earlsfield, St George’s Hospital, Tooting and at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, are going ahead.

NHS Wandsworth did not comment on the Battersea centre but Ann Radmore, NHS Wandsworth’s chief executive, said overall investment demonstrated it was improvements healthcare “local people told us they wanted to see”.

She said: “The four polyclinic hubs will become key access points for healthcare in Wandsworth so that patients have more choice of where to go to get the care they need, without having to travel to their local hospital.

More convenience was strongly requested by our local residents and patients will now be able to get treatment closer to their own home at a time that better suits them, including evenings and weekends.”

Date posted: 8 February 2010