The battle to save our walk-in centre at Eastbourne continues and all the time we are collecting more evidence in favour of keeping the walk-in centre. But the CCG seems determined and so we must fight on. We are getting masses of support from the public and our survey of public opinion showed that we do very much need the walk-in centre. The position of the CCG is really saying that we don’t need it. They say that as we have a few surgeries offering evening and weekend appointments, we have the 111 service and we have an urgent treatment centre at the hospital so the walk-in centre is in fact no longer needed. Which seems to fly in the face of the fact that should you wish to see a doctor at the walk-in centre you may be told you have to wait for 4-6hrs.
Here are the main factors that make us say the walk-in centre must stay open.
Less than 20% of the Eastbourne population will say that they now have no difficulty in gettng a GP appointment when they need it.
Our access to primary care is likely to be reduced in the near future.
Pressure on our A&E department often comes from people being unable to get a GP appointment when they need it.
People do not cease to be ill when services are cut.
When services are cut it is often impossible to get them back.
When we approach members of the public to sign our petition against the closure between 80 and 90% are happy to do so.
Eastbourne is a town which relies on visitor numbers and it makes sense to provide them with a medical facility in the town cente.
There are many other groups of people such as the homeless or those in poverty who need a facility in the town centre.
If we are asking people to travel to the hospital for the urgent care centre many won’t and may become more ill and for some the cost of a bus fare will be prohibitive. We need to remember that Stagecoach has twice reduced the frequency of the Loop bus to the hospital.
The NHS 111 service is rated by a survey of people in our town as bad nearly twice as often as it is rated as good.
The population of our town clearly want the walk-in centre to stay open.
3,500 people are registered at the walk-in centre and would need to be accommodated by other GP surgeries if this closed. We also have the likely closure of a surgery in Hampden Park which would mean even more people would need accommodating.
With this campaign we have the support of the following organisations:-
Eastbourne Labour Party
Eastbourne Green Party
Eastbourne Lib Dems
East Sussex Co-Operative Party
Eastbourne Trades Council
Eastbourne People’s Assembly
Eastbourne Unite Community
Eastbourne Blind Society
Warming up the Homeless
Eastbourne Seniors Forum
Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce
Eastbourne Hospitality Association
Eastbourne Access Group
Eastbourne Memory Lane
We are waiting to hear back from other organisations who we have contacted for support. We also have the support of Cllr David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council. Caroline Ansell MP has said she came to support the protest on Saturday but declined to sign our petition. If anyone belongs to another organisation that we have not listed here but woud like to support this campaign please send us a message in the comment box below.
We have set up one more date for collecting petition signatures and that is for this Saturday 7 March at 11.30am. We meet outside the station and all are welcome.
We have also set a date for another protest to happen. This will be on Saturday 28 March at 1pm outside the station. Hopefully this will be even bigger than the last protest! Please bring your friends and family.
Please do engage with the formal public consultation by picking up a booklet at the walk-in centre or through the CCGs dedicated webpage. Please make sure you tell them what you are telling us.
As a campaign we have also been seeking public opinion on the potential closure for some time through our own surveys and a petition against the closure. There are a number of reasons why we believe it is important for the centre to stay open. These are:-
Primary Care services in the town are going through a process of change as primary care networks are set up. There is a move to amalgamate surgeries into larger hubs, where many people will be employed with lesser qualifications than GPs. GPs will then spend less time seeing patients and more time overseeing other workers. Patients may find their local practice closes and they are signed up to a hub which is further away from their home. This may cause particular problems for the elderly and disabled people in our community. As people find it harder to access GPs the need for a walk-in centre will increase.
The Walk-In centre at Eastbourne station also has many patients who are registered there, if this practice closes then all those people will need to be accommodated in the town’s other surgeries.
The homeless population, in particular the transient homeless population, need access to a walk-in centre. It is unlikely they will have the money to be paying bus fares to the hospital where an urgent treatment centre exists.
There are many other people in our town who may struggle to find the money to pay bus fares to the hospital to see a GP. We have also twice seen Stagecoach reduce the frequency of the Loop bus which would take people to the hospital.
We are a town that relies on visitor numbers it makes sense for them to have a walk-in centre in a central location.
When the decision was taken to keep the walk-in centre at Hastings station open, all the reasons for this decision are also relevant to Eastbourne.
The surveys taken by this campaign show that many of the original claims made by our CCG as reasons why they were considering closure are in fact the opposite of what you are saying.
When collecting signatures on our petition in the town we have found 80-90% of the public are happy to sign.
The crisis that exists in our hospitals is exacerbated by the fact that most of us have difficulty getting to see a GP.
The Eastbourne public have been fantastic, you have completed our surveys and signed the petition. But now we need to ask that as many of you as possible also take part in the public engagement process that has been launched. It is vital that the CCG hears our views directly from us.
The possible closure of the Station Plaza GP Walk-In service was mooted earlier this year, at a meeting of the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The reasons at first appeared to be connected to a £90m shortfall in the local CCG budgets, but they’ve since denied that the closure is being considered for that reason. The reason, we’re told, is because of new government rules requiring them to set up an ‘Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), which could replace the GP Walk-In service. The GP Walk-In service would be relocated to the Conquest Hospital. Continue reading “Hastings CLP fights proposals to close the town’s GP Walk-In Centre”→