THERE have only been a small number of patients attending the walk-in centre in Hereford since it closed, health bosses have said.

The GP Access Centre next to Asda in Hereford closed on July 28 and last week Herefordshire Healthwatch raised concerned about whether enough had been done to let members of the public know about the closure.

But Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which took the decision to close the centre's doors, said since an awareness campaign about the changes began in June there had been a steady decline at the facility.

A spokesman for the CCG added: "Since the centre closed CCG staff have been available onsite offering signposting advice for the small number of patients who were not aware of the changes.

"Moving forward, there is now an intercom which will connect directly to NHS 111.

"The CCG is also monitoring all local services to check the impact of the walk-in service closure as yet, there has been no discernible impact on the numbers of patients visiting A&E or local GP practices."

The CCG said it will continue to work with Healthwatch to make sure all patients are aware of what alternative healthcare services are available in the county.

Dr Ian Tait, chair and clinical lead for Herefordshire CCG, said: “The CCG is grateful for Healthwatch’s continued involvement in this project and for the feedback from its recent patient survey.

"Both are committed to working with local patients and public to ensure they know what healthcare services are available."

Resources promoting the changes to services have been available on the CCG website, in the Hereford Times, at all county GP practices, pharmacies, Hereford Library and WISH signposting service in addition to other partner organisations, as well as via a social media campaign.

Following the concerns expressed in last week's Hereford Times, the CCG is continuing to promote a joint CCG/ Healthwatch message that "alternative healthcare services in Herefordshire are closer than you think." Both organisations are encouraging people to call their GP surgery in the first instance (you will be seen if your need is an urgent one), ring NHS 111 for healthcare advice, use the Taurus GP service or visit their local pharmacy.

Ian Stead, Healthwatch Herefordshire chairman, said: "Healthwatch is keen to support the CCG in ensuring that the public understand the best ways to access services. We are currently undertaking research into people's access to GPs and other services and we will share the results with the CCG to help improve people's experience."

The centre will be the new home for the Ross Road branch of Moorfield House Surgery, as well as the extended evening and weekend primary care service hub, operated by Taurus Healthcare (currently operating at Wargrave House Surgery on St Owen Street in Hereford).