A battling South Tyneside woman, who last week failed to win a new independent inquiry into the death of her soldier son in Iraq, is now focusing her energies on blocking the relocation of a borough health facility.
Pat Long has fought a long legal battle for the probe into the death of her Red Cap son Paul Long in 2003.
Why should the people of Jarrow travel to South Shields to access services?Pat Long
But despite her plea falling on deaf ears, she has now joined the fight to save Jarrow Walk-in Centre, based at the town’s Palmer Community Hospital, amid plans to transfer the service to South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields.
Pat, of Salem Street, Jarrow, who is registered at the walk-in centre, has called on townsfolk to join the fight to keep it open.
Tomorrow from 9.30am she will be at Bede’s World in Jarrow as part of the Save Jarrow Walk-in Centre campaign, prior to a meeting of the governing body of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is behind the transfer move.
She said: “There are 900 registered patients at the walk-in centre from Jarrow and the surrounding areas. It is easy to access, much more so than the district hospital. I started to go there because I was unable to get appointments with my own GP. We can’t afford to let it close because it offers a vital service on our doorstep.
“I still believe that many in people in Jarrow are unaware of this proposal, that’s why we have been out dishing out leaflets to let them know about the meeting. We can’t give up the fight.”
Dr Matthew Walmsley, chair of the CLG, said: “We understand people’s concern about the changes, but it’s important to be clear that our plans are based on what is the best way to provide health care for the people of South Tyneside.
“We carried out a very detailed and well-publicised consultation and as a result we have been working on six key issues before the move takes place in the autumn.
“This includes a detailed survey into availability of GP appointments and satisfaction with GP services and an upcoming scheme to publicise free consultations and advice available from pharmacists locally.”