The closure of Swindon’s Walk-in Centre is being brought forward as the local NHS pulls together to respond to the current challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.
Originally scheduled to close at the end of the day on Tuesday 31 March, the Walk-in Centre – based within the larger Swindon NHS Health Centre – will now be withdrawn when the service closes at 2pm on Sunday 22 March.
Supporting staff at Great Western Hospital
Bringing the closure date forward means the highly-skilled staff at the Walk-in Centre can support colleagues providing a critical service at the Urgent Care Centre at the Great Western Hospital.
Over the last few days, staff at the hospital have been working around the clock to prepare for a potential increase of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus, and the extra resource of the Walk-in Centre staff will provide much-needed clinical support.
Patients showing signs of coronavirus are reminded not to attend the Great Western Hospital, nor any other public healthcare facility, such as their GP practice or pharmacy, and instead use the 111 coronavirus service, which is available at www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19.
Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said:
“Managing the coronavirus outbreak is our number one priority, and the early closure of the Walk-in Centre will allow us to have the right healthcare staff with the right skills in the right place, so that they can provide care to those who need it most.
“Today’s decision has already been discussed with staff at the Walk-in Centre, and I have been humbled by their professionalism and overwhelming desire to do all they can to support Swindon’s wider NHS at this challenging time.
“There is a real sense of stoicism and determination in the NHS at this time, with so many consistently going above and beyond the normal call of duty, and I ask local people to do all they can to support us by following the national guidance of maintaining social distance and self-isolating when symptoms, such as a high fever and persistent cough, appear.”
Prior to today’s announcement, the Walk-in Centre had been gradually reducing the number of services it offers to local people, and a number of new services had been established to support the withdrawal process.
A dedicated phlebotomy clinic for people needing blood tests, as well as a permanent needle exchange point, have been set up within the Swindon NHS Health Centre and these will continue to run following the closure.
People needing ongoing wound care should contact their GP practice and, if appropriate, will be referred to a new wound care clinic, which will be located at Moredon Medical Centre from Monday 23 March.
The Walk-in Centre’s withdrawal will not impact on any of the other services based in the Swindon NHS Health Centre, such as the pharmacy, sexual health clinic and emergency dentist, all of which will continue to run as normal.
The latest information on coronavirus, including what to do if symptoms of the virus develop, can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.