A petition has been launched to fight plans to close the NHS walk-in facility at the Station Plaza health centre in the middle of Hastings.
News broke that the centre was under threat at the start of this year but plans for its relocation were put on hold during the summer, however, these plans are due to come up for consideration again next month by Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
The petition calls on the CCG to scrap its proposal to close the Walk-in Centre at Station Plaza Hastings and relocate the service to Conquest Hospital.
In April members of Hastings Borough Council said the plan did not make sense and risked putting the accident and emergency facilities at the Conquest under even greater strain.
Since its launch just a day ago more than 250 people have signed the petition with one signatory pointing out: “Walk in health centres reduce the load on GP Surgeries and A&E. To be most effective they need to be in the town centre, not at the remote hospital.”
- Sign the petition here
The petition has been launched by Erica Smith who says: “Here are some reasons why I think we need to keep our walk-in health centre in the town centre: If you are a woman with a urinary tract infection that’s gone to your kidneys, the walk-in centre is accessible and tests can be done then and there and antibiotics prescribed if necessary, even if you were lucky enough to get an instant appointment with your GP, the urine test is sent up to the Conquest, adding 24 hours to your pain and the infection impacting seriously on your kidneys.
“If you are not registered with a local doctor; you might be a visitor, a foreign language student in the town, or someone who has mental health issues or is homeless the walk-in centre is the perfect place to go.
“Hastings and Rye GP surgeries are so over-prescribed and under-staffed it can be really difficult to get a quick appointment for something that needs to be seen quickly, but is not an accident or emergency worthy of wasting the time and resources of A&E at the Conquest. Again, this town centre resource is accessible by public transport.”
The CCGs that provide healthcare in Hastings and Rother have been placed in special financial measures and have to find savings of £18m. Closing the walk-in centre at Station Plaza is seen as one way of saving money.
Campaigners point out that the CCG proposal to relocate the walk-in centre to the Conquest Hospital makes little sense because the Conquest is much harder to get to and it will place unnecessary pressure on a busy A&E department.
Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Council and Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Hastings & Rye, has written to the CCG opposing the closure. He says: “The Walk-In Centre was created as part of the new Station Plaza Health Complex, funded by the last Labour government. For many people, who for various reasons can’t get onto a GP list, this is their only source of primary health care. Many of them are the most vulnerable in our community.
“Moving it to the Conquest Hospital isn’t a realistic option – it just means telling people to go to the hospital A&E department, which is already overstretched. The Conquest is also much harder to get to. I appreciate that like all public services, the local CCGs are facing big cuts because of government policies. But this closure must not take place.”