Plans to slash night time opening hours at Central Middlesex Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre

Brent Urgent Care Centre

Brent Urgent Care Centre - Credit: Archant

Urgent care centre opening hours at Central Middlesex Hospital may be slashed at night as there are “too few patients” attending.

The centre at the hospital in Acton Lane is currently open to people 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no appointment needed.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) proposes to cut the hours of midnight to 8am, which will save it "in the region of £450,000" a year.

In its report the CCG says it has been in an "initial discussion" with Greenbrook Healthcare, the service provider, about proposed changes after a survey revealed an "average night time attendance" of "around one patient visiting per hour".

The changes are likely to severely impact patients in Harlesden, Park Royal and Stonebridge.

The Central Middlesex Hospital's A&E was closed in 2014 despite huge opposition at the same time as the A&E at Hammersmith Hospital as part of the NHS Shaping a Healthier Future programme.

The Urgent Care Centre, launched in 2011 to take pressure off the A&E services, was hailed as a replacement.

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Cllr Ketan Sheth, chair of Brent's community and wellbeing scrutiny committee, will be scrutinising the proposal at a meeting in the Civic Centre on July 9.

He said: "Brent Clinical Commissioning Group are saying that the Urgent Care Centre sees too few patients in the early hours and are proposing that it no longer opens from midnight to 8am.

"In short, the commissioners' view is that the Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex is no longer an effective use of resources because of the staffing costs compared to the number of patients who walk through its doors.

"And, they now believe that those resources would be better re-invested elsewhere in local primary health services.

"This is clearly a very serious matter - Northwick Park A&E and the Urgent Care Centre there are already under considerable pressure as well.

"So, I will be spending time at the scrutiny committee reviewing the proposal with the leadership team from Brent CCG."

A spokesperson for Brent CCG said they were considering reducing opening hours as given the low number of patients it did "not represent good use of money for the NHS".

They added: "National guidelines say that UCCs should be open for a minimum of 12 hours and with the reduction in hours after midnight it would still be open for 16 hours.

"We've been talking to local stakeholders about this and look forward to hearing the views of our Local Authority Community Wellbeing Committee."