THE town’s walk-in centres have been saved from closure, we can reveal.

Campaigning MPs, the council and the clinical commissioning group have reached an agreement to save both Bury and Prestwich walk-in centres from the axe.

The formal agreement was made at Bury Clinical Commissioning Group’s monthly governing body meeting yesterday. And it was also announced that walk-in capacity is actually set to grow in the borough.

Bury North MP, James Frith, who has campaigned heavily to save the walk-in centre is delighted with the news, which was jointly announced today by Bury’s two Labour MPs and council leader, Rishi Shori.

Mr Frith said: “I made saving our town’s walk-in centre my top priority during the election campaign and won with a clear mandate to do so.

“In addition to working locally with Bury Council and NHS Bury, I have lobbied ministers at a national level and held meetings with senior figures from NHS England to make the case for walk-in services to be retained as part of the national and regional re-design of urgent care.

“I am delighted that our voices have been heard and this shows the real difference a Labour MP working with a Labour council can make for our town.”

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis is similarly pleased with the news that both walk-in centres will be retained.

Mr Lewis said: “This is great news for the south of the borough as not only will we retain the services in Prestwich but we have gained additional provision at the Radcliffe Primary Care Centre with the new integrated Health and Social Care Hub with walk in facilities.

“I am pleased that the NHS in Bury has taken our views and those of local residents into account. I would like to thank all those residents that support our campaign.”

The future of the borough’s walk-in centres has been uncertain since the CCG announced its decision to close both of them as part of its urgent healthcare shake up in September 2016.

Prestwich Walk-in Centre in Fairfax Road will remain unchanged until the development of an integrated health and social care hub which will include a GP-led walk-in facility.

In Radcliffe the Primary Care Centre will gain a health and social care hub, which will also include for the first time a walk-in provision.

Bury’s Walk-in Centre at Moorgate was also under threat. Now, instead of closing, it will also become a health and social care hub like Prestwich, with a GP walk-in service.

In addition, a new Urgent Treatment Centre will be located alongside A&E at Fairfield General Hospital to reduce A&E waiting times. This centre will also have a walk-in service.

In January this year, the opening hours at both Prestwich Walk-in Centre and Bury’s Moorgate walk-in, were slashed as the CCG considered axing the centres.

For a long time the CCG held off on acting on its decision to close the walk-ins as NHS England was due to deliver national guidance about how public healthcare should look.

In turn this guidance was delayed because of the general election.

As the MPs and hopeful candidates geared up for May’s election, both Mr Lewis and Mr Frith made keeping the walk-in centres open part of their successful platforms.

In July it was announced the walk-in centres had been given a reprieve and would remain open until at least March 2018 and the NHS England finally delivered its guidance.

The NHS England guidance included the retention of walk-in centres as part of urgent care.

In October last year Bury Council moved a motion opposing the closures and in December 2016 Mr Lewis and Cllr Shori presented a 7,000 named petition to the Department of Health.

Cllr Shori, who said: “Bury’s Labour Council has led the opposition to the closure of the walk-in centres from the start and have been determined to work with the NHS in Bury to find a solution which keeps these vital services open across our borough.

“Over 7,000 residents have added their support to our campaign to save Bury’s walk-in centres and we were delighted when James was elected and was able to work with us to take the campaign to the national level.

“This issue has proved that a Labour council working with two Labour MPs can deliver real change for the people of Bury.”