Give us a date when our walk-in health centre will open again, demand Eastham campaigners

Reporter:

Matt Warner

“GIVE us a date” is the call from campaigners after they were told the controversial closure of Eastham's walk-in health centre is now considered temporary.

A wave of support for the facility on Eastham Rake rose up when it was closed this month to allow staff to be transferred to the A&E department at Arrowe Park Hospital in a effort to reduce waiting times.

Wirral South MP Alison McGovern called the closure “brutal”.

She and local councillors rallied support for the walk-in centre and Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth came to Eastham to speak with members of the public who are upset about the closure.

Now Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chief officer Simon Banks has told a meeting called by Wirral Council's Labour group that the closure of the walk-in centre is “temporary”.

However, Phil Gilchrist, a member of the committee and one of Eastham’s councillors, is adamant that the pressure must be kept up to get the walk-in opened again.

Cllr Gilchrist said: “The officers from the NHS hear our concerns. I want them to act on them.They said that the situation at APH is improving. They’ve described our closure as temporary. How long is a piece of string? How long do we have to wait for our service to re-open? 33,000 people at the southern end of Wirral have a reduced service because three nurses have been taken away from our community’

“How are they monitoring how people are coping? Are local surgeries receiving more calls?

“The local CCG did not provide any more figures on the walk in centre’s usage. They sheltered behind their view that our walk in only serves 20% of the overall usage. They claim that dressings renewals are a high proportion of the users.

“I have submitted an FOI request for more information. It should not have to come to this. All involved have to be more open!”

Eastham Labour Party secretary David Bird also met with Mr Banks on Friday,

Mr Bird said: “Before the closure, the Wirral CCG was hardly known in Eastham and beyond. Now it is reviled. The CCG declaration that the closure is temporary is met with derision and lacks credibility unless we are given a date.

“Waiting to see what happens at Accident and Emergency in not good enough. We want our local community service re-started because it is valuable and needed in its own right.

“The Wirral CCG says that the service at Accident & Emergency Arrowe Park was operating at a level that threatened the safety of patients and this is why they have moved the three nurses out of Eastham. Eastham residents say that situation at Arrowe Park Hospital clearly needs addressing, but must be done without destroying the valuable service at Eastham.

“I believe the message from the petitioners was heard loud and clear.

“Now we want a practical response. A dare, a re-opening and a resumed service.”

The closure of the walk in centre has not affected the other services at Eastham Clinic such as blood tests and dressings.

Email:

matt.warner@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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