Fight to save Jarrow Walk-in Centre will go on

Palmers Community Hospital, Jarrow
Palmers Community Hospital, Jarrow

The fight to save a South Tyneside health centre will go on – despite a pledge by the Labour Party to save it coming to nothing.

At a rally held at Jarrow Town Hall in March, 300 people showed their support for the under-threat walk-in centre at Jarrow’s Palmer Community Hospital.

Gemma Taylor.

Gemma Taylor.

A letter was read out at the rally from Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow health secretary, pledging that if his party won this month’s general election, the facility would be saved.

The Tories’ victory at the ballot box means the Labour leadership contender is in no position to put that promise into practice, however.

Despite that setback, campaigners say they are committed to fighting to retain the service, used by 27,000 patients a year.

The South Tyneside Public Services Alliance (STPSA) will be putting together a petition in support of saving the centre, with signatures having been collected at the rally and in the weeks since.

That petition is to be delivered to one of the two bodies that will make the final decision, South Tyneside Council’s health and well-being board and the NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group.

Alliance co-ordinator Gemma Taylor said: “We are very much keeping up the momentum and the pressure in the fight to retain the Jarrow walk-in centre.”

The commissioning group wants to see the centre’s services moved to South Tyneside District Hospital, four miles away in South Shields, and its chairman, Dr Matthew Walmsley, said: “I understand people’s concerns about this change.

“It’s important to be clear that this was a clinical decision based on strong evidence about the most effective ways to provide health care within the resources we have.”