2018 will start with the restoration of a vital walk-in service at Eastham's healt centre.

The walk-in service at Eastham Clinic will open again tomorrow (Tuesday, January 2) after its shock closure in September.

The new opening hours will remain until May while a long-term solution is sought.

Eastham councillors Chris Carubia and Dave Mitchell outside the health centre

Phil Gilchrist, Lib Dem councillor who campaigned for the re-opening of the centre along with fellow Eastham councillors Chris Carubia and Dave Mitchell, said: “After four months of anxious waiting I am relieved that the centre is open again.

“Local NHS chiefs recognised the need for services at this end of Wirral.

“After the uproar last autumn they did commit to restoring our service. This promise has been kept.

“Local people will remain vigilant as a review of Urgent Care will take place later this year. Whatever that produces the need for local services remains.”

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

The interim re-opening was announced by NHS Wirral CCG and Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust in November.

The sudden closure caused shock in the community in September and protesters, many of who united as the Friends of Eastham NHS Walk-in Centre, leapt into action to put pressure on health chiefs.

Alison McGovern MP with campaigners outside Old Market House, Birkenhead

In the wake of the closure, Wirral South MP Alison McGovern joined campaigners to hand over a petition signed by 1,874 people to the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) before its governing body met at Old Market House in Birkenhead.

This led the governing body to write to Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust asking that it submits a plan to reinstate the Eastham walk-in service as a matter of urgency.

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

NHS Wirral CCG and Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust say that the issues faced by a limited clinical workforce and the need to sustain clinical streaming at the Arrowe Park Hospital Emergency Department still need to be addressed.

Campaigners at the clinic in Eastham

Karen Howell, Chief Executive of Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust said: “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.”