SOLIHULL walk-in centre could merge with its neighbouring A&E department to make both services more efficient, the Solihull News can reveal.
In an exclusive interview, the head of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Dr Anand Chitnis said the organisation, which is taking over responsibility of urgent care, is looking at integrating services at the Solihull Hospital site.
Concern has been growing over the future of the popular premises following a review of the urgent care structure in Solihull.
Dr Chitnis stressed the quality of service will not be affected. However, it remains unclear what will happen to the GP surgery, which is also based at the walk in centre.
"If we just close the walk-in centre, which I don't think we'll do, you would get people overloading A&E," he said.
"We are not interested in creating a service like that. The discussion we are having with Heart of England Foundation Trust (HEFT) and the other providers is around the idea of some sort of front door.
"For that to happen HEFT, which owns the hospital building, has got to engage in the idea of do we let someone else in, because the walk-in centre is owned by Bernays and Whitehouse surgery.
"I think it is in everyone's interests for these three services, the out of hours, the walk-in centre and HEFT to work together. We have got to rise above the commercial interests and do what is right for the patient.
"The walk-in centre is an asset, it is an asset because it can do certain things and what we need to do is make it more efficient."
Dr Patrick Brooke, chief officer of the CCG, added: "We fundamentally believe we can improve the service, take the best of what is there, combine it and make it even better. Over the next couple of months, we will engage with the public and have a discussion about urgent care.
"This isn't a consultation on closing the walk-in centre. This is about how urgent care works best in Solihull."
* Find out more about Dr Chitnis plans for healthcare in Solihull in next weeks edition.