Over Christmas I received an email from Manchester PCT (or NHS Manchester as they now call themselves) confirming the closure of the Burnage Walk-in Centre. In it Laura Roberts the Chief Executive tries to claim that “we are managing this change process sensitively” – I would be more inclined to describe it as “secretively”, given that they didn’t consult anyone!
When I had a meeting with Laura Roberts to discuss the proposed closure (along with Lib Dem Councillors John Cameron and Rod Isherwood) we requested information on the cost of running the walk-in centre. The information was quite revealing. It apparently costs £5000 to run the Burnage walk-in centre for 100 patients each week. This compares to £38000 to run the Withington walk-in centre for 350 patients each week. More than 7 times the cost for 3.5 times the patients, or about twice as expensive! Given the size of the PCT budget, the £60K they expect to save from closing down the walk-in centre is loose change, and it makes no sense whatsoever. So why are they closing a frontline service that doesn’t cost much to run? I’m not sure, but I’m determined to find out.