Putnoe Walk-In Centre could close in two month’s time, with “no arrangements” in place for its replacement.
The facility, which is open from 8am to 6.30pm, seven days a week, is targeted at residents with minor illnesses and injuries.
But the current contract to operate the centre ends on 31 March 2018 and there are currently no arrangements in place to operate a walk-in service for Bedford after that date.
Councillor Anthony Forth (Labour, Goldington) said: “The threat to the walk-in centre is unacceptable.
“There’s a crisis in A&E and long waiting times for appointments at many GP surgeries. Closing the centre will only add to pressures on already over stretched services.
“We know from past experience with NHS Direct that patients want face-to-face contact with a doctor or nurse rather than speaking to someone on the telephone. If they cannot access this, they’ll turn to GPs and A&E over will not be able to cope.”
Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who oversee healthcare across the area, say that the centre maybe replaced with an Urgent Care Centre based at Bedford Hospital, but no arrangements or timescales are in place for such a service to open.
Councillor Jade Uko (Labour, Goldington) added: “Putnoe Walk-in Centre has been supporting Bedford Hospital during the crisis; on December 23 they saw over 200 patients.
“Losing this services will be devastating for local residents. A centre based at the hospital site could have some pluses, but we know that Bedford Hospital is very short of space.
“Also, it is very difficult and expensive to park on the hospital site and, for those using buses, particularly the elderly or those with children, it can be very difficult to reach. Parking is currently free at the Putnoe Walk-in Centre.”
A public petition is now running at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-putnoe-walk-in-centre-in-bedford