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Above: Cllr Mike Turner, Lead petitioner Erica Smith, Chair of the CCG, Dr David Warden, Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council and Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party, and Ian Stewart, Walk-in Centre campaigner

From left to right: Cllr Mike Turner, Lead petitioner Erica Smith, Chair of the CCG, Dr David Warden, Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council and Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party, and Ian Stewart, Walk-in Centre campaigner

Campaigners to protest against closure of Hastings’ Walk-in Health Centre this Saturday

Campaigners aiming to keep open the Station Plaza Walk-in Health Centre in Hastings town centre will meet outside the Walk-in Centre this Saturday, 13 October, to publicise the threatened closure.

The protesters, all Hastings residents, want to reinforce their message to the local health authority that the proposed Walk-In Centre closure is a very bad idea, particularly given its central location and the urgent health needs of local people.

In early summer, proposals to close the crucial service and re-locate it to the Conquest Hospital were made by the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), responsible for planning for the health needs of people across this large part of East Sussex. But now there are some signs that the resident campaigners are being heard.

The campaign has also organised a 4000 strong petition which was presented to Dr David Warden, the Chair of the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group today (Wednesday 11 October). Lead petitioner, St Leonards resident Erica Smith, said “It is good that our pressure has meant the CCG have now acknowledged residents’ deep concerns. Moving the Walk-in service to the Conquest would mean it would no longer be accessible to the people who currently use it, particularly since we already have a shortage of GPs. But no confirmation that it will stay has been received.”

At the meeting, the campaigners asked about the proposal to open an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at the Conquest. Dr David Warden explained that there is a national directive to open UTCs to support the Accident and Emergency facilities at hospitals. But he seemed unconvinced that a UTC at the Conquest would successfully replace the services offered by the Walk-in Service.

Currently, the walk-in service is open from 8am to 8pm. Because it is next door to Hastings station, it is easy to reach by public transport. On the Saturday morning, we will have a stall outside the Co -op in Ore, and a group of Ore residents plan to travel to the Walk-In Centre on the Number 20 bus to join the protest.” The protest will run from 1pm – 1.30pm, and everyone who attends will be encouraged to share their experiences of the support the Health Centre has given them and the reasons why they think the Walk-in Centre needs to stay in the town centre.

Musicians including local singer Lily Kim, whose infected foot was saved by the walk-in centre medical staff, will be performing to the crowd to show support for the Walk-in Centre.

Walk-in Centre campaigner Ian Stewart was the victim of a stroke two years ago, which was quickly and successfully diagnosed at the Walk-in Centre. He was taken by ambulance to Eastbourne Hospital. He attended the Walk-in Centre petition meeting today and travelled there on the bus. Ian said “It took me an hour to travel to the Conquest on a bus today. If the Walk-in Centre was relocated here, it would mean that my stroke would not have been diagnosed as quickly.

On Saturday, Ian Stewart has arranged a petition stall in Ore. Supporters of the campaign will be encouraged to get the at 12.25pm Number 20 bus to the Walk-in Centre to join the main proteset.

Posted 19:54 Thursday, Oct 11, 2018 In: Campaigns

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