Conservatives urge residents to support an ‘Urgent Care Centre’ in Eltham

Despite having the idea of including an “Urgent Care Centre” (or Minor Injuries Unit) in the new Eltham Community Hospital rejected by the Labour Council in July this year, Conservatives are urging residents to respond to the “Right Care, First Time” consultation where the option is being actively considered.


The “Right Care, First Time” consultation is being held by the Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG) who presented their ideas to the Full Council last week.  At the meeting Labour Councillors were extremely critical of the consultation process and seemed to offer little in the way of support for the ideas of local GPs and family doctors. 


The focus of the consultation is to improve general care across Greenwich to ensure that the Accident and Emergency Departments at local hospitals (especially Queen Elizabeth) are better used.


Support for Grabadoc


For the Conservatives, Leader Cllr Spencer Drury expressed his support for the idea of an Urgent Care Centre in the Coalition Government’s new Eltham Community Hospital (for all cases except those in ambulances) which is suggested as a possible option in the consultation. 


Spencer also expressed his support for the Grabadoc service on Shooters Hill which he felt was excellent but might potentially be closed under the proposals in the consultation.  In response the GCCG informed Council that Spencer’s positive comments about the Grabadoc service had been widely reflected elsewhere and this was clearly a service which the community did not want to lose. 


Much of the debate centred around the use of ‘walk in centres’ which local GPs felt did not offer value for money and should be closed to focus on longer opening hours for family doctors across the borough.  Given the chart which is included in the consultation shows a wide variation in attendance at A&E between different family doctors across the borough, the reasoning behind improving the opening hours seems clear, although whether the closure of walk in centres is result in this must be open to question.


Leader of Greenwich Conservative Councillors Cllr Spencer Drury said “I am so pleased that despite the Labour-run Council refusing to support the idea of an urgent care centre for Eltham when we suggested it in July, this is now on the table.  I am afraid that the message for Eltham residents is clear – any improvements in our services are now going to come from the Council but instead through outside bodies recognising the requirements of our community.”


“I was genuinely surprised that rather than engaging with the consultation, the Council seemed set on criticising it.  Given their record on consultations, they didn’t seem to have a leg to stand on in my opinion, but the opportunity to criticise local doctors was one they seemed to grasp with both hands.  It was very disappointing and suggested that the Council’s leadership seems set on alienating yet another important group in the borough.”


The consultation can be found at,FirstTime.aspx.


It is worth noting that the Cabinet Member responsible wrote on the 853 blog in August in response to the idea of an Minor Injuries Unit/Urgent Care Centre that:


“The Council is not responsible for acute health provision.”


Although he then went on to admit:


“It is true the Council got an increase in its Public Health funding.”