No Sex Please, We're Chiswick

Drastic cuts in services at Chiswick Health Centre raise concerns of funding focus

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Drastic cuts in the Community Contraception and Sexual Health Services at Chiswick Health Centre have raised concerns that PCT funding is being focused on the borough's polyclinics.

The cuts apparently 'came out of the blue' to GPs at the Fisher's Lane surgery.

Until February 2nd there were three clinics a week which were open to all. The cut backs mean that there is now just one clinic - Adult Family Planning for the over 25s - on Tuesdays between 5.00 – 8.00 pm.

KISS - the family planning service for the under 25's - is only available at Heart of Hounslow and Feltham polyclinics.

These clinics are not just for the patients registered at the Health Centre's various practices, but anyone in Chiswick and are well used, particularly by younger women.

Brentford Health Centre has also had its clinics cut back to one a week.

By contrast the Heart of Hounslow Centre has two 'KISS' clinics, four Adult Family Planning Clinics and four Specialist Family Planning Clinics. At Feltham Centre for Health there's one KISS, four Adult Family Planning Clinics and Specialist Family Planning Clinic.

The Heart of Hounslow opened as a polyclinic in April 2009. A walk-in service is available from 8am to 8pm every day of the year including weekends for registered and unregistered patients.

Dr Nicola Burbidge, a Chiswick GP and Chair of the Hounslow Professional Executive Committee (PEC) said, “Polyclinics are designed to make it easier for people to receive better health and social care where and when they need it. I see this new service complementing the GP care that already exists in Hounslow by giving patients additional access to care at times when surgeries maybe closed or difficult to get to.”

In response to Chiswick residents' concerns about the new polyclinics earlier this year, Hounslow PCT's Chief Executive John James said, "We are clear that Chiswick Health Centre will need further expansion and improvement over the coming years."

He continued, "If there are any specific plans to be developed for Chiswick Health Centre we will undertake a form of local consultation which could involve a number of different methods including the use of existing local groups, GP practices and users of Chiswick Health Centre, local involvement networks (LINKS) which are to be established from 1 April 2008 replacing the Patient and Public Involvement Forum, and public meetings."

GPs at Chiswick Health Centre say there was no consultation, inadequate notice given prior to the closures and patients were frustrated when they turned up for clinics that were no longer being run.

Clinic times for Chiswick Health Centre as well as others across the borough can be found here

May 23, 2009