The future of a North East medical centre is under threat as NHS chiefs carry out a review into the service.
The GP practice at Blaydon Health Centre, which is part of the leisure centre on Shibdon Road, is being assessed to gain patients’ and stakeholders feedback of whether there is enough demand and need for the service.
The service opened in 2009 and the original contract ended in May this year.
Services are currently being delivered through a temporary provider until January, to enable the area team to engage with patients on the future of the service.
A spokesperson for NHS England’s Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team, said: “The review of the service to date has highlighted that there is a low number of patients registered at the practice, and there is a range of other providers in the area.
“Closure of the practice is an option that is being considered, however a final decision will not be made until later this year when engagement with patients and stakeholders has concluded.
“The Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team is working closely with patients, local representatives and partner organisations to understand the potential impact of any decision in relation to practice.
“In the meantime, patients are able to continue to access services as usual from the practice. The walk-in centre at this site is not part of this review.”
MPs in the region claim that a decision to review the primary care centre is down to “money and competition,” yet health bosses insist they will focus on patient feedback.
Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: “It is a classic example of the mess that the NHS is in. If Blaydon Health Centre closes it will put patients in the area at a significant disadvantage, especially for people who need flexibility in an GP practice, as it offers a tremendous service and you can go there without being registered.
“I am really gutted by the decision to review the service. The GP practice gives a huge boost to people in the area. The review is clearly being driven by finance. The service is needed, particularly for people who lead busy lives.”
It is not the first NHS centre in the North East to undergo a review.
Three walk-in centres, Molineux Street, Ponteland Road and Westgate Road, in Newcastle, have also undergone assessment to gain patients’ views about their experiences of the facilities.
NHS bosses have insisted that there are no plans to axe any of the Newcastle walk-in services and the review is a standard procedure that patients should not worry about. However, MPs in the region say it must be done in an “open and transparent” way.