THE fight to save the Jarrow Walk-In Centre has taken a step forward as councillors have agreed to refer the decision to the Secretary of State.
South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) decided to relocate the Jarrow Walk-In Centre to the proposed new urgent care hub on the site of South Tyneside District Hospital, as part of a review of urgent care.
But members of South Tyneside Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Call In Committee last night unanimously agreed that the decision should be reviewed by the Secretary of State.
Committee chairman, Coun Rob Dix, said: “While we agree that the development of the Urgent Care Hub at South Tyneside District Hospital is a necessary and welcome development, members unanimously agreed that this should not be at the expense of the Jarrow Walk-in Centre until the problems around the access to GP services in Jarrow and Hebburn and South Tyneside as a whole are addressed.”
Members of the Full Council previously passed a motion calling for the Walk-in Centre based at Palmers Hospital to be retained. Members agreed the centre performs a vital service for the residents of the mid-Tyne areas of the borough and urged the CCG to retain the service.
Councillors will refer the matter to the Secretary of State next week. It is expected that he will make a decision within the next three months.
Dr Matthew Walmsley, a local GP and chair of South Tyneside CCG, said: “It’s disappointing that the councillors feel the need to take such a step after the Council have already agreed both our strategic plan and Better Care Fund submission which include the plan for a single urgent care hub at South Tyneside District Hospital.
“The CCG is led by local doctors and nurses who take their duty to the borough extremely seriously. After considering the evidence carefully, it is clear that a single hub is the best way to provide a high quality, integrated service for the whole of South Tyneside.
“It is simply not true to say that the borough as a whole has opposed our plans. An independent public consultation gathered views from thousands of local people, with overwhelming support for a single urgent care hub.
“Concerns were raised but we have listened to people’s views around issues such as transport and access to GPs and are already putting measures in place to tackle these concerns before the changes are made. By spring 2015 we will have further increased access to advice through local pharmacists, who can help with minor ailments like coughs, colds and stomach upsets.
“Jarrow walk-in centre will relocate to the new hub in autumn 2015, with no interruption to the service.”
* Don’t miss tomorrow’s Gazette for more on this story.