I SEE there’s a lot of alarmist nonsense being spouted about the scaling-down of services at the Swindon Health Centre walk-in clinic at Islington Street.

Some hysterical fools are even claiming that vulnerable people will be put at risk and frontline Great Western Hospital emergency staff will be left under even more pressure than they already endure.

I don’t believe a word of it.

Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group seems certain the impact will be minimal, and that’s good enough for me.

After all, Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group has shown time and again that it has the best interests of patients at heart, and is a safe pair of hands.

Who can forget, for example, the cat-like speed with which the CCG leapt into action when patients at surgeries blighted by the presence of IMH complained of dangerous delays in securing appointments?

Who can forget the ruthlessness with which the CCG dealt with the situation, minimising the misery and fear suffered by unfortunate patients?

The plain fact is that anybody currently using or likely to use the walk-in centre has plenty of alternative options.

The most obvious is to sign up with a GP surgery immediately. There is really no excuse for failing to do so.

It’s not as though anybody is incapable of filling in a form.

Or is so embarrassed at their inability to fill in a form that they would sooner suffer without medical treatment.

Or becomes so deeply alarmed and anxious at the thought of dealing with any form of officialdom that they are vanishingly unlikely to keep appointments.

Or has a lifestyle which, for reasons beyond their control, means they have to move around a lot.

Or lacks a permanent address or any address at all.

Or is experiencing very worrying mental or physical issues which they are prepared to discuss in the relatively anonymous surroundings of a walk-in centre, but not in a conventional GP surgery where their presence in the waiting room might be noted by other community members.

Once a person signs up with a GP, there is no reason at all why they should have any use for a walk-in centre.

It is not as though, for example, making an appointment to see a GP in Swindon is anything other than a simple and very quick procedure.

It is not as though any of our surgeries are short of doctors and administrative staff.

It is not as though anybody has to wait 20 minutes or half an hour or longer before a staff member is free to answer the telephone.

It is not as though any patient, on getting through, is given anything other than an appointment for that very day or the following day.

It is not as though anybody is ever told they cannot be seen until the end of the week or at some point during the following week.

It is not as though any patient is at risk of having a readily-treatable condition turn into something far more serious while they’re waiting for medical assistance.

It is not as though parents of sick children have any reason to become so frightened that they decide simply to load the young patient into a car and take them to the nearest A&E unit.

There is absolutely no reason to suspect that staff at Great Western Hospital’s emergency unit, who are already overworked beyond the limit of normal human beings’ endurance, should expect to become more overworked still - perhaps with dreadful consequences.

There is absolutely no reason to suspect that any patient, and especially a vulnerable patient, has any reason to be afraid.

Anybody who says otherwise is probably one of those nasty people who spreads fake news.