Campaigners’ final plea to save the Eastbourne NHS walk-in centre
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The local population has responded to the campaign to keep the centre at Eastbourne Railway Station - including support from the Eastbourne Trades Council, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, and Eastbourne Hospitality Association.
However, the proposal to close the centre remains in place, despite a year of campaigning and support being gathered.
The independent organisation conducting the pubic consultation has said it will include the campaigners’ arguments in the report. Despite this, the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee from East Sussex County Council has published a report which is said to ‘basically approve the closure’ according to campaigners.
In response to this, the committee said it does not make decisions on the provisions of healthcare. The committee is a ‘critical friend’ of healthcare providers, there to scrutinize decisions and discussions.
At a meeting held on September 10, the committee did not support plans to close the walk-in centre, but discussed actions needed should the closure go ahead – this included investigating the feasibility of commissioning a drop-in clinical service for the homeless in the town centre.
The NHS clinical commissioning groups are due to analyse the responses to its consultation, consider the recommendations made by the committee and make a decision in early December.
Lucette Davies, one of the campaigners, said, “We are extremely disappointed that our elected representatives are ignoring the strength of public opinion and many of the arguments we have made in support of this centre staying open.
“Their report seems to rest upon the concept that the 111 service, which was enhanced from October 1, will be a satisfactory replacement for the walk-in centre. Over 95 per cent of you have told us that you have found the 111 service unsatisfactory. It may have been enhanced but can we trust that this enhancement will turn around something so overwhelmingly poor?
“Time is running out now as a final decision will be taken on our walk-in centre’s future in early December.”
Campaigners say nearly 5000 people have signed the petition against the closure.
Ms Davies said, “We will not give up without a fight. We now need people who have used the 111 service since October 1 to give us feedback on how they found it.
“This is about our health, our lives, our town’s future and our NHS. And, now more than ever before we must all be aware of the importance of our health service.
Anyone wanting to give feedback on 111 can email [email protected] and if people want to watch the meeting’s proceedings on December 10, they can watch this via the county council website: https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=154