A NEW walk-in centre has recently opened at Teddington Memorial Hospital giving patients fast access to health advice and treatment.

The new centre at the Hampton Road hospital comprises the existing minor injuries, a pharmacy, GP out of hours service and a radiology and diagnostic suite.

Funding is part of a £40 million investment by the Department of Health to improve access to primary care health services in Richmond and Twickenham and reduce waits in A&E departments.

Working as a complementary service to GP services, NHS walk-in centres are part of a range of healthcare options now available providing fast and convenient access to the NHS.

These type of centres represent an important new choice, especially during the winter months when doctors surgeries and A&E departments are often very busy. For more information please contact Richmond and Twickenham PCT on 020 8973 3000.

l LOCAL people are now getting involved in planning the future of West Middlesex University Hospital.

A new forum made up of local volunteers is now up and running, with a role to improve healthcare for the people of Hounslow, Isleworth, Richmond and Twickenham.

The Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forum for West Mid hospital is one of 572 forums across England set up by the Commission for Patient & Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) on December 1, 2003 to involve patients and the public in how healthcare is provided.

Also to monitor the quality of services and make changes that will impact positively on the experience of patients.

Cherna Crome MBE, the chair of the PPI forum, and its other members are keen to involve patients, users and members of the public in developing a work plan to improve local health.

She said: "We want to know what local people think about the quality of services in West Middlesex University Hospital and, bring to the fore, issues that in their opinion need addressing."

The forum, which is completely independent of the NHS, has new statutory powers to visit NHS premises, talk to staff, patients and make referrals to appropriate local authorities. The inaugural public meeting will take place on May 17 at the Civic Centre, Hounslow between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.