NHS chiefs 'forced to drop' relocation of Loughborough walk-in centre
Health campaigners believe controversial plans to relocate a town's NHS walk-in centre will be dropped next month because of a lack of cash.
Bosses at Leicestershire County and Rutland NHS primary care trust have said they want to move the treatment centre from Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, to the town's general hospital complex in Epinal Way more than a mile away.
They are due to make a final decision on the move at their February board meeting.
Many patients have opposed the move because they say the current location in town centre is more accessible for people seeking medical care for minor emergencies and illnesses who rely on public transport.
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The town's Conservative parliamentary prospective candidate Nicky Morgan has been leading the campaign to keep the centre in the middle of town and says she thinks the trust will shelve the idea due to a shortage of funds.
She said: "I attended a meeting with the trust about the walk-in centre just before Christmas and the approach has certainly changed.
"It looks like they are now indicating they will keep things as they are and not move the walk-in centre to avoid the costs of transferring the service. That would be a victory for the campaigners who want the walk-in centre in a convenient central location."
Mr Morgan and Conservative colleague Barrow borough councillor Pauline Ranson are to meet the trust's chairman John Gant tomorrow to discuss the issue.
Councillor Ranson said: "The trust should focus on running its existing services well rather than playing around with them and making changes most people do want."
The trust declined to say whether it was now reconsidering its original proposal. It has said it would be able to improve care at the walk-in centre by linking it with the hospital facilities. It also said it would look to improve public transport from the town centre to Epinal Way if it made the move.
The trust's deputy director of primary care, Dominic Cox, said: "We are expecting to make a final decision on the Loughborough walk-in centre in February at the trust's public board meeting."
The town's Liberal Democrat parliamentary prospective candidate Mike Willis said: "If it does move it should be to somewhere else in the town centre, not the hospital, because it needs to be in the place where it can be best accessed by the most people."
Loughborough's Labour MP Andy Reed was unavailable to comment.