Walk-in health centre a ‘tragic loss’ – Jarrow shoppers

Palmers Community Hospital, Jarrow
Palmers Community Hospital, Jarrow

IT was a resounding “no” from shoppers in Jarrow when asked if they were happy with the pending closure of the town’s walk-in centre.

The controversial decision to shut the doors of the health centre, within Palmer Community Hospital, has been met with anger and disgust from residents.

The move was given the green light during a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s overview and scrutiny co-ordinating call-in committee.

South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to relocate the centre to a proposed new urgent care hub at South Tyneside District Hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields.

In a bid to stop the plans, councillors are to write to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, urging him to stop the closure.

It is a move residents are behind as they too want to see the decision overturned.

Maureen Powell, 68, from Hebburn, said: “We as a family use the walk in centre and find it very accessible. It really will be a tragic loss.

“I don’t know if getting the government involved will make any difference, I would like to see the decision be changed.”

The move to close the centre, which saw 27,000 people through its doors last year, was met with disgust by Jarrow resident Michael O’Neill.

The 58-year-old from Inverness Road, who has diabetes, said: “I think it’s disgusting and the MP Stephen Hepburn should intervene.

“I go to the centre regularly as I have diabetes. If it’s not here, I would have to travel to Shields – this place is more local and easier to access for a lot of people. It’s just disgusting they are going to close it.”

Lynne McKenzie, 64, from Fellgate, Jarrow, said it would be “tragic” if the centre was to close.

She said: “It is so handy to have the place here, especially in an emergency.

“My daughter wasn’t very well, she went to the walk-in centre and was seen straight away, and the treatment she received is working now.

“It’s just so handy rather than travelling to South Shields.

“I’d like to think the government would step in and help save it, but I won’t hold my breath.”

Husband and wife Christine and Stephen Potts both agreed the centre should be saved.

Mrs Potts, 60, said: “I think it’s a disgrace, especially for families with children. It is a good idea to see if anything can be done as the more people you get behind, it the better.”

Mr Potts, 68, added: “I totally agree, it would be a tragedy if it was to close, as families do use it.

“It’s not as though it doesn’t get used.

“It’s convenient, there’s plenty of parking nearby, and buses stop close to it, so it’s easier to get to for those who don’t drive.

“I don’t know if the government would get involved in this, I’d like to think they would support us.”

Councillors will refer the matter to the Secretary of State next week. It is expected he will make a decision within the next three months.

An earlier meeting of the full council previously passed a motion calling for the Walk-In Centre to be retained, while more than 1,200 people also signed a protest petition against the move.

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