Having read the piece “Report says NHS access is fair after centre closed” (Gazette November 17), I felt compelled to respond.
The first question I have is has this report been made public? I can see no evidence of it on the South Tyneside CCG website. If not, why not?
The second point is what did the audit cover that allows it to say that closing the Jarrow Walk-In Centre has had no deleterious effect on patient care?
The fact is that the rationale for opening an urgent care hub at South Tyneside Hospital was a good one, but this was never a reason for closing the walk-in centre in Jarrow. In fact, the decision was in direct contravention of all the recent evidence that said bringing primary care closer to people and focusing on preventative measures was the way forward, particularly in avoiding expensive admissions into secondary (hospital) care.
The only way that a survey could prove that the closure of Jarrow Walk-in Centre had had no effect is to demonstrate that as many people from the Jarrow & Hebburn localities attended the Urgent Care Hub at South Tyneside Hospital as attended the walk-in centre in a similar period.
While I am here, I do get irritated by representatives of the Labour party who pretend to protest about protecting our NHS from “Tory cuts”. The fact is that the Overview & Scrutiny committee of South Tyneside Council has the power to reject a proposed local re-organisation by the CCG or the Foundation Trust, referring the matter to the Secretary of State for Health if necessary, and if this is not successful asking for a judicial review.
I can’t help feeling that if the Labour Party had really been that bothered about the Jarrow Walk-in Centre it would have gone ahead and sought a judicial review.
In any event our Labour Councillors have far more power than they let on. In 2014 did they put out to tender a £9million plan for an integrated services care hub for older people which was won by South Tyneside Foundation Trust and will be based on the South Tyneside Hospital Site. Why didn’t they use their power to spread services more equitably ?
We need councillors who are prepared to fight against the status quo and to force the powers that be to listen and change their minds. I do hope that more people in South Tyneside can be persuaded to elect UKIP councillors who will actually stand up for their constituents.
UKIP South Tyneside Branch