New Cross Walk-In Centre will be closed in March despite a petition to 'save' it receiving more than 2,000 signatures.

Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group's governing body made the decision today (January 11), to close the walk in centre in New Cross on March 31.

This follows a public consultation last year on the future of the centre, where patients highlighted the impact closing the centre would have on A&E departments.

A petition, launched by councillor Joe Dromey, received the backing of more than 2,550 people to save the centre from closure.

A statement posted online by NHS Lewisham CCG confirmed however that a decision to close the centre has been made.

They said: "Our Governing Body just agreed recommendations to allow the contract for the Walk-in Centre in New Cross to expire.

"This decision was taken following review & evaluation of clinical evidence and consultation responses and means the Walk-in Centre will close on 31 March 2018."

In the consultation document, the CCG said it wanted to improve the way patients accessed primary care, and that closing the centre would reduce confusion over urgent primary services, making it easier for people to know where they need to go for help.

Closing the centre means funding can be freed up to be spent on other Lewisham CCG needs.

Cllr Dromey told News Shopper the decision to close the centre was disappointing.

He said: "It's disappointing but not all together surprising. It's frustrating because of the level of opposition to the closure, more than 2,500 people signed out petition.

"I think this will put pressure on A&Es at the worst time for that. 82 per cent opposed the closure in the consultation, and of those 82 per cent had used the centre.

"It will make things harder for residents, and it will be an inconvenience for people trying to get a GP appointment. I am disappointed."

According to the CCG, 39 per cent of patients at the walk-in centre lived outside of Lewisham.

Dr Marc Rowland, Chair of NHS Lewisham CCG said: “Members of the Governing Body reached this difficult decision as we believe that the Walk-in Centre service model does not provide the best health outcomes for Lewisham residents.

"We met with groups across the borough, listened to views and have taken careful consideration of people’s concerns and we believe this is the right thing to do to ensure that people are better able to access the services they need.

“Our analysis of the conditions and treatments that people currently attend the Walk-in Centre for has shown that their needs can be more effectively met in alternative services including pharmacies and the GP Extended Access (GPEA) Service. 

"This service is currently being underused so we will be continuing our efforts to increase awareness of this service.

“We are also working with local practices and charities to develop additional services to meet the needs of people who sleep rough or are homeless, and with Goldsmith’s University to promote access to services for students.

“We will monitor any impact on A&E at local hospitals and other services.”