ROCHDALE MP Simon Danczuk has backed a campaign to rescue a life-saving NHS service from closure.
Medical staff at the walk-in clinic at Middleton Health Centre treat up to 24,000 patients every year without the need for an appointment.
But Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group has recently recommended closing the clinic as part of its review of urgent services in the borough.
The proposal is now subject to a period of public consultation with a final decision expected at a meeting in Rochdale Town Hall on November 24.
Robert McLean, finance Director for Hope Citadel Healthcare - the social enterprise which runs Middleton Health Centre, argues closure would have a catastrophic effect on the local community.
He said: “Some people might think because of where we are based that we are just for patients in Middleton, but we treat patients from across the Rochdale borough.
“Our research shows that 60% of people who currently use the walk-in service would switch to using Rochdale Infirmary instead.
“But treating just a quarter of our patients at Rochdale Infirmary would cost more than the walk-in centre costs all year.
“Closure would have a huge knock on effect on local A&E departments and the whole of Rochdale, there’s no doubt about that.”
Mr McLean added that the walk-in centre provides an essential life-saving service by providing early diagnosis and rapid response to major illnesses.
He said: “Take the finances and the practicalities away and the fact of the matter is that the walk-in centre saves lives. There are people who are here now who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the centre and four of our patients stood up and said exactly that at a public meeting this week.”
This week, staff from the centre presented Mr Danczuk with a petition calling on the CCG to rethink its plans.
Adding his name to the thousands of signatures already collected, Mr Danczuk said: “The walk-in centre provides a vital same-day service for those in urgent need.
“The staff there do an incredible job and I applaud their passionate campaign to save the service for the local community.
“This is an issue which affects everyone in the Rochdale borough and I’m happy to put my name to the petition to keep the service open. I urge to CCG to rethink this short-sighted plan.”