HEALTH campaigners in Eastham have been given the Christmas present they wanted with the announcement that the town's Walk In Service will open in January.

NHS Wirral CCG and Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust have announced the temporary reopening of the Walk In Service at Eastham Clinic from Tuesday, January 2, and said that work is underway for a permanent solution. 

The service will be open for four hours each day, seven days a week: 1pm-5pm, Monday-Friday, and 12pm-4pm, Saturday and Sunday.

NHS Wirral CCG and Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust said they remain committed to finding a way to restoring the full operational hours of the service at Eastham.

The new temporary opening hours will remain in operation until May 2018, by which time it is anticipated plans will be in place for a permanent solution. 

All other services provided from Eastham Clinic are unaffected.  

Simon Banks, Chief Officer of NHS Wirral CCG said: “We have worked hard with our colleagues at Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust to find this interim solution, which will see the return of seven day access at Eastham Walk In Centre, within set hours. The interim opening hours reflect the fact that there are still staffing pressures to address, but we remain committed to working with Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust to return Eastham Walk in Centre to full operational hours. I thank the public for their patience, and can assure them that we will continue to work with the local community and listen to feedback.”

Karen Howell, Chief Executive of Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust, added: “I am pleased that by working together with colleagues at Wirral CCG we are now in a position to reopen walk-in centre services on an interim basis to the people of Eastham, whilst we work on fully restoring the service. Our role as a trust is to provide health and care to people in their community, making sure they have the services they need, and our walk-in centre services are a vital part of that. We will continue to work in partnership Wirral CCG, listening to our patients, their families and local people to inform the provision of high quality person-centred care in Wirral.”

The sudden suspension of the Walk In Service in September caused shock in the community.

The facility was closed to allow staff to be transferred to the A&E department at Arrowe Park Hospital in a effort to reduce waiting times.

After the outrage at the closure, which Wirral South MP Alison McGovern branded “brutal”, Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chief officer Simon Banks told a meeting called by Wirral Council’s Labour group that the move was only “temporary”.

A Friends of Eastham NHS Walk-In Centre group was set up to bring together residents and campaigners fighting for the service to be restored.

Friends of Eastham NHS Walk-In Centre David Bird said: “Though this falls well short of residents’ demands, for full re-opening now, it is line with the petitioners' request that the centre be re-opened. This re-opening is the result of the spontaneous, consistent and persistent outcry from the community. They made sure the authorities knew how much the centre was valued.”