Battle to save Jarrow Walk-in Centre will be fought to the end

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I urge everybody who cares about the National Health Service to join me and local Labour councillors in future protests and rallies to save the Jarrow Walk In Centre at Palmer Community Hospital.

The fight goes on but I won’t kid you and pretend there’s an easy win on the horizon.

This battle got a whole lot harder when the Conservatives won May’s General Election.

The centre’s fate was discussed at a weekend emergency meeting of Jarrow Constituency Labour Party.

We’re more determined than ever to work with patients, community groups, staff and trade unions to save what we value.

I’d raised the closure before in Parliament with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The response of the latest Tory I questioned, Chris Grayling, who is Leader of the Commons, was, frankly, the kind of evasive tosh I’ve unfortunately come to expect from these uncaring Conservatives.

Grayling ducking the issue just adds to the pain of Labour’s election defeat because I had a written guarantee from our party’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, that he’d keep it open if Labour formed the Government after the general election.

The contrast couldn’t be clearer between the great things a Labour Government would have done for Tyneside and the indifference of Tories who’d struggle to find places like Jarrow, Hebburn, Boldon, Pelaw, Wardley or Cleadon on the map.

But I promise you we’re not going to simply lie down and accept defeat over the NHS.

The campaign goes on.

With the Jarrow Labour Party, I’m going to keep up the pressure on the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group to review an utterly contemptible decision.

People in our area rely on that Walk In Centre.

It’s a local, convenient and valuable service.

It’s reassuring for some just to know it’s there.

Shutting it will hurt the sick, elderly and vulnerable.

That’s why we’re fighting back.