Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
THe Walk-In Centre is on the ground floor of the Station Plaza Health Centre Photo © Peter Chowney

The Walk-In Centre is on the ground floor of the Station Plaza Health Centre Photo © Peter Chowney

Walk-in Centre campaigns continue to raise concerns

This week has been a busy time for people concerned about the potential closure of the town centre walk-in health centre. All week there have been campaigners getting signatures for the Labour Party-supported petition, on Friday 21 September Amber Rudd MP is holding a meeting at Sussex Coast College Hastings, and on Saturday 22nd at 1pm there will be a get-together outside the Walk-In Centre for people to show their support for keeping the service in the town centre. HOT’s Erica Smith gives us an update.

When I set up a petition four weeks ago appealing to the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to scrap plans to move the walk-in centre service to the Conquest Hospital, I had no idea how much support the petition would get. There are currently over 3,000 signatures on the petition, and Amber Rudd MP has also set up her own petition (currently 225 people have signed that one).

A paper copy of the petition that I set up is also being circulated widely around town and concerned residents have been gathering signatures in the streets of Hastings as well as digitally. I was at the Seafood and Wine festival at the weekend, and the level of awareness of the possible closure (in order to save money) was high. As well as talking to locals, it was interesting to talk to visitors to the town. Several of them were regular visitors, and either older people, or accompanying elderly parents who had used the walk-in centre on their day-trips and holidays. They continue to visit Hastings regularly above other towns because they know and value the walk-in service.

Throughout this week, campaigners have been making regular visits to the walk-in centre to gather signatures and to let people know about the get-together this Saturday outside the Station Plaza Health Centre.

For me, the biggest surprise has been that Amber Rudd MP and Rob Lee (leader of the Conservative group on Hastings Borough Council) have set up their own petition to save the walk-in centre. Amber Rudd will be speaking at a meeting at 5pm this Friday at Sussex Coast College. Personally, I’m intrigued as to how Conservatives can campaign to stop the NHS cutting services when it is the Conservative government’s austerity measures that are making the cuts necessary.

Moving the Walk-In Centre services up to the Conquest Hospital would make a nonsense of the service since it would no longer be a ‘walk-in’ service for the people who need it. And it will simply create more demand on both the limited parking and the busy A&E department at the hospital.

If you are concerned about the possible closure of the town centre service, please sign my petition, attend the meeting on Friday 21 September at 5pm at Sussex Coast College Hastings and/or come along to the Walk-in Centre this Saturday, 22 September, at 1pm.

Posted 11:30 Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018 In: Campaigns

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