I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your article, Threatened Clinic Cut in Health Move,published on October 15.
Your article indicates that we are planning to relocate a health centre from Yiewsley to Hayes - this has been misinterpreted by,some of your readers, as closure of Yiewsley Health Centre services.
This is not the case.
Under national Government requirements, every PCT in England must procure a new GP led health centre, within its borough, before the end of March 2009.
This new service will have longer opening times i.e.8am-8pm seven days a week.
A GP health centre must also provide patients with the option of being able to walk in to see a GP without the need to book an appointment.
The PCT intended to procure this service for the Yiewsley and West Drayton area by working in part-nership with the existing GP practices.
The new service would have 'wrapped around' the existing services by either only opening when the practices were closed or,by working in parallel, on a collaborative basis.
The Department of Health has recently confirmed that our proposals did not meet their criteria.
The DH requires PCTs to commission additional GP service provision, separate from existing services.
We have therefore decided to switch the focus of this initiative to commission a GP led health centre in Hayes, replacing one which fell vacant during the early summer.
We aim to provide additional services as part of this project.
This allows the PCT to satisfy DH requirements, improve services in Hayes (an area of considerable deprivation), and continue to develop the emerging partnership between practices in the Yiewsley and West Drayton area.
Our consideration must always be to provide the highest possible quality of services within our budget (taxpayer's money), which impact the greatest number of patients in our borough.
The current services in Yiewsley and West Drayton have not been, nor will they be affected by the change in direction.
Specifically, the services at Yiewsley Health Centre will continue and the PCT remains totally committed to not only raising the standard of services in the area as a priority,but also to securing funding to build a new health centre within the next two years.
director of communications, Hillingdon PCT,
Kirk House, High Street,