THE walk-in centre’s opening hours will be reduced in the weeks before it closes.

CCG bosses reassured worried patients that other services in the NHS Health Centre on Islington Street will be in place to help them ahead of the facility’s move to an urgent treatment centre at Great Western Hospital.

The new drop-in phlebotomy clinic for people needing urgent blood tests and the six-day-a-week needle exchange point are now up and running, so the walk-in centre on the ground floor will be open less often next month.

The centre is currently open to people wanting nurse-led care and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses between 8am and 6pm. The team will aim to see all patients before the end of each day but warned that when the waiting room is busy, people arriving up to an hour before closing time are not guaranteed to be seen.

From March 9 until March 15, the walk-in service will be available from 8am until 4pm. The final phase of the closure plans will begin on March 16, when the opening hours will be reduced again to 8am to 2pm and stay that way until the centre closes for good on March 31.

Director of nursing and quality for B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG Gill May said: “It was never our intention to remove the walk-in service without any prior warning or preparation and, by reducing the opening hours in this gradual way, we are able to not only monitor the impact the withdrawal has on other local healthcare services, but also respond to any unforeseen issues.

“As the move away from walk-in centres is one that is happening across the country, we have been looking carefully at what has happened in other towns and cities after their centres have closed and, thankfully, the impact has been minimal.

“We’re optimistic that this will also be the case in Swindon, especially as a number of other services designed to support the transition are proving popular with both staff and patients.

“Of course, we’ll be watching the situation closely and are fully prepared to step in at any time to support our colleagues across the health and care system, whether it is before, during or after we end the provision.”

The phlebotomy clinic is open every weekday between 8am and 12.30pm, and can provide blood tests without an appointment, while the needle exchange point in the ground floor pharmacy, offers a safe environment for people to collect clean and sterile drug equipment.

Work is now under way to introduce a dedicated wound care clinic either at the Swindon NHS Health Centre or at another location in the town, which will operate on a drop-in basis.

Patients attending before Wednesday, April 1 will still be seen by the team of nurses and paramedics but will be advised of alternative healthcare options, such as contacting their GP practice, visiting a pharmacy or using the NHS 111 service.

The CCG says that the walk-in centre’s withdrawal will not impact on any of the other services based in the Swindon NHS Health Centre, like the two GP practices, pharmacy, sexual health clinic and emergency dentist which will continue to run as normal.

Earlier this month, the CCG held a public meeting where people had the chance to find out more about the end of the walk-in service. For more information see