A NHS walk-in service will give patients access to a GP when it takes on a new identity next week.
The Hanley Health and Wellbeing Centre has been in Stafford Street since 2009. But from July 1 it will become known as the Hanley Primary Care Access Hub.
Following a period of public engagement the new service will have a GP available to see walk-in patients during its full opening hours. Previously walk-in patients were able to see a nurse but GP availability was limited.
The new identity will mark the service being taken over on July 1 by the North Staffs GP Federation, an organisation made up of GP practices across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
The Hub will be open for exactly the same hours as it is currently – 8am – 8pm seven days per week.
Dr John Gilby, Clinical Director for Primary Care at Stoke-on-Trent CCG said: “We are delighted that the GP Federation, which is local, established and respected, will be taking over. During a recent public engagement into the future of the Health and Wellbeing Centre people said they were concerned that people who were not registered at the practice had access to a nurse but not a GP. When the service becomes the Hub there will always be a GP on duty.
“The Hub will continue to be a valuable resource to people who both visit and work in the city centre. It also provides an important service to a number of vulnerable groups who often are not registered with a GP, such as homeless people. It is important these patients still have access to a doctor.”
Patients will not be able to register at the Hub as their own GP. Approximately 3,500 patients are currently registered at the Health and Wellbeing Centre and they are currently being assisted to register with another local GP by NHS England, with sufficient capacity being available in neighbouring practices.
Dr Annamalai Veerappan, GP Federation clinical lead for the Hub said: “We are a not for profit company and our ethos is to support the local delivery of primary care for our population. We look forward to working with all our partners to deliver the service commissioned by the CCG and provide a benefit to patients and our member GP practices in supporting them to provide access to local patients.”
Blood test and dressing services will not take place at the Hub, but will be offered from a number of alternative venues including clinics, GP surgeries and some home visits for patients who are housebound.
The GP Federation will initially run the Hub for 12 months.