A walk-in service in the heart of Brighton faces an uncertain future after uptake of childhood immunisations dropped dramatically.
Brighton Station Health Centre in Queen’s Road was recently downgraded to requires improvement by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), after maintaining a good rating for two years.
A report available on the CQC website shows a stark fall in standards during the regulator’s inspection in June, when compared to an equivalent 2016 report – the certificates from which the health centre is still displaying in its foyer.
In particular, uptake of the essential 5-in-1 vaccination for under two year olds was just 69.4 per cent, while the rate of children receiving their first dose of the MMR vaccine was 75.8 per cent, contrasting with the earlier inspection’s commended figure of 90-95 per cent.
Now the service, which is run by private healthcare provider Care UK for the NHS, has been brought back into the spotlight with the opening of a connected GP surgery inside Boots in North Street – which Care UK saw as “a good investment”, according to an NHS spokesperson.
Although a forecast closure date for the health centre has now been pushed back to September 2019, some residents have questioned whether the two facilities will continue to co-exist.
“I think it’s a needed facility,” said Caren Vauxell, 59, from Hove.
“It’s probably a good idea to have two open because that one I went into was literally packed full and I was there all day waiting for treatment.”
Harvey MacDonald, 21, an artist who moved to England from Australia as a child, said he was unsurprised by the rating drop, citing a personal experience with the Brighton Station Health Centre’s GP service when he was suffering from flu.
“I went twice and I kind of went undiagnosed and got worse.
“You don’t really get a sense that you’re in good hands.”
Speaking at The Big Health and Care Conversation on November 9, Chris Clark, director of commissioning operations of Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group called the Queen’s Road service “one of the biggest areas of transformation that we need to look at across our city”.
This article was originally published in The Brighton Wire.