With waits at NHS hospitals ranging from one hour all the way to eight hours, people have always been dependent on NHS clinics. For those of us that don’t want to travel all the way to hospital for a minor issue, the walk-in clinics have always been practical for us.

No matter what area you are in, I’m sure you’ve noticed the recent shutting down of the clinics. In harrow, the amount of walk-in clinics has been reduced to two: Pinn Medical Centre and Belmont Health Centre. This has meant that waiting to get seen at a walk-in clinic can take hours, similarly to a regular hospital.

In 2018, 40% of all easy access services were shut across the UK. This number is only growing. With winter on the horizon, the common flu is coming back and many will be affected and in need of care. Although it can be argued that there are many alternatives to these walk-in clinics, there simply isn’t. With only one major hospital in Harrow (Northwick Park Hospital), local GPs often face long waits and it’s increasingly difficult to book an appointment at a suitable time. From personal experience, there have been times where I’ve had to wait at my local GP (Roxbourne Medical Centre) for up to 3 hours after my scheduled appointment time. Also, for many of us, it is not ideal to go to A&E all the time and walk-in clinics are incredibly convenient.

Moreover, since November 2018, the Alexandra Avenue Health Centre has become an appointment-only centre instead of a walk-in clinic as it previously was. This means that it’s even harder to get seen on short notice. These changes are affected ordinary people and something needs to change. Although MP Gareth Thomas is incredibly involved in the situation, he has not yet provided a statement.

With the general election just around the corner, we are forgetting the local issues in our community. Are changes to the NHS going to worsen or will the problem soon be solved?

Written by Diya Khatri