A ‘vital’ walk-in centre that provides medical care for thousands of patients is under threat of closure, councillors have warned.

The Cricklewood GP Health Centre could be forced to shut its doors when current NHS contracts run out in March next year.

Letters were recently sent out to 5,700 registered patients of the centre, which is in Cricklewood Lane, asking for their views on its future.

Starting in August, the walk-in urgent care provision is also up for consultation.

Labour councillors warn closing the centre could make it harder for local people to access medical care.

Cllr Anne Clarke, Labour member for Childs Hill, said: “As a Cricklewood resident I understand how vital the health centre is.

“With Ravenscroft Surgery in consultation to move to Finchley Memorial, we would be losing two GP surgeries who take a large number of patients from either end of the Childs Hill ward.

“Residents tell me they use the walk-in centre when their own surgeries don’t have appointment times.

“It is unclear who would take the patients registered at the Cricklewood GP practice with local surgeries already over capacity.

“The walk-in is a real lifeline for local people – the Royal Free and Barnet Hospital are simply too far away.”

It follows news that the NHS has seen the first sustained fall in GP numbers for 50 years.

Analysis by the Nuffield Trust for the BBC showed that the number of GPs per 100,000 people fell from nearly 65 in 2014 to 60 last year.

Labour councillors are concerned that the Government policy of concentrating GP surgeries in large ‘super hubs’ with much bigger catchment areas is making access to healthcare harder.

They say the health needs of local communities should be enhanced and improved.

Labour’s lead on communities Cllr Sara Conway added: “Cricklewood residents made it clear that this is a vital local primary service when asked in 2013.

“I’m concerned that this centre is again under threat and that healthcare decision-making across the local area seems to be increasingly driven by funding cuts and not residents’ needs.”

A spokesperson for Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The NHS contracts for both services will end in March 2020.

“We are therefore asking patients and stakeholders to let us have their views on both services, to help inform future service arrangements.

“A three-month consultation on the future of the GP practice was launched on 30 April 2019, and a three-month consultation on the future of the walk-in service will launch on 29 July 2019.

“All patients registered at the practice have been invited by letter to give their views, and we recommend that they do so.

“Details on how to contribute to the consultation on the future of the walk-in service will be available on the Barnet CCG website when it opens in July 2019.

“Details of how to participate in the Walk-in service consultation will also be made available at Cricklewood GP Health Centre.

“No decisions on the futures of these services will be made until both consultations conclude.”

People can respond to the initial consultation in relation to the GP surgery by emailing: nlphc.lon-nc-pcc@nhs.net

A survey on the centre’s future is also available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/savecricklewoodhealthcentre