HEALTH bosses in Herefordshire are considering closing the GP walk-in centre in Hereford.

Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body is also mooting the idea of shutting minor injury units in Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury and Kington.

In their place, the CCG says it is currently working with GPs and NHS England to take forward the “development and implementation of seven-day GP services”.

But a leading councillor has vowed to fight the plan, saying he expects “strong opposition”.

“I will fight any proposal to close the walk-in health centre at ASDA, a real lifeline to so many people,” said Cllr Chris Chappell.

“It has more than proved its worth, and I will oppose any attempt to close this valuable community asset which serves people as far away as the Golden Valley.”

The CCG’s governing body met in Ledbury on Tuesday to discuss the proposals when members were told the model could be “groundbreaking” and one which added value.

The move, which would come into force in August if approved, has come about as a result of a plan announced by the government last summer to “incentivise” GPs to deliver a sevenday primary care service for patients.

Currently, the only funding source is from an existing ‘Extended Hours Directed Enhanced Service’ although the CCG says national expectation is of additional funding to support a seven-day service.

Meanwhile, bosses at the Taurus GP Federation hubs in Hereford, Leominster and Ross-on-Wye - which are part of a Prime Ministers Access Fund pilot which is due to end at the end of march - said this afternoon that they have secured an extension. Click here to read more.

The proposals for the seven-day service, and ideas for how the service could be commissioned, were set to be debated by Herefordshire- based GP’s last night.

Healthwatch Herefordshire, which champions the views of patients and the public, said it welcomes the approach.

“We are already aware that the government wishes there to be seven-day access for patients to their GP’s, and with the proposed remodelling of urgent care services in Herefordshire to link in with this at the same time, it is vitally important that we get things right,” said Paul Deneen, the group chairman.

“Healthwatch Herefordshire will be working with the CCG and partners on this very important issue to ensure that the views of the patients and the public are raised and are fed back before any final decisions are made by the CCG Board, as they will have lasting implications for the people of Herefordshire.”

The CCG says it’s working with GPs and NHS England to develop and implement the seven-day GP services.

“Whilst the timelines for this are currently unclear, it will include making GP practices the first point of call for unplanned or unexpected health events, in line with what patients and the public have told us,” said the commission in a statement.

“In December the governing body agreed in principle the case for change, to enable the work to develop these plans to proceed.

“The CCG is clear that this requires further work with the organisations that provide care, and that no decisions will be made without a comprehensive and robust consultation with the residents of Herefordshire.”

A petition has been set up online by residents against the closure: