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Health Secretary challenged

to come to Withernsea

    By Gazette Reporters  

AN OPEN letter has been sent to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over the ‘lamentable lack of services’ at Withernsea’s 8 to 8 centre. The Gazette can exclusively reveal the letter, to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care invites him to Withernsea to see problems experienced since the minor injuries unit closed in April.

It is from resident members of the Withernsea and District Health Forum, Withernsea Town Council and East Riding Council’s South East Holderness ward councillor, Lyn Healing. It details the background to the 8 to 8 centre, the loss of the minor injuries unit, local hospital beds and the frustrations surrounding the new centre.

Mr Hunt is reminded the East Riding Council’s health, care and wellbeing overview and scrutiny sub-committee formally challenged this decision.

“But it was upheld by your office in November 2017 and the MIU along with the community beds in our local hospital closed,” the letter says. It asks Mr Hunt a series of questions it wants answered.

“We would appreciate a visit from you (Mr Hunt) or one of your ministers at the Withernsea 8 to 8 Centre, to meet the Health Forum and to verify for yourselves the lamentable lack of services which we are experiencing,” the letter says.

“We ask for your urgent attention to this matter; confidence in our health services is at an all-time low and residents and visitors alike need to be reassured that our concerns are being taken seriously. Vague platitudes that all is well are no longer acceptable, we need to see information and action to address shortfalls. The fact that we have a very active Health Forum which is supported by all of the various elements of statutory health care will perhaps convince you that we take these issues very seriously and are committed to ensuring that we have access to the very best services available.”

“We believe that the decisionmaking process currently used by 111 is fundamentally flawed and mitigates against referring people to the Withernsea centre,” the letter gives examples of how people have been referred to Hull or Beverley for minor things which could have been treated locally.

Withernsea and District Health Forum chairman, Marian Mead described the system as: ‘a disgrace.’ She said: “We feel someone from London should come and see for themselves how far we are from Beverley - 27 miles - I don’t think anyone realises how far it is. It’s pretty dire really. People in Withernsea are upset about it, it’s just not on.”

The forum’s vice chairman, Brian Cloke, said the NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is failing on its tag line ‘Better Care, More Locally.’ He stressed: “We want the 8 to 8 centre to work. We accept it’s not the same as an MIU but we still want it to be used for appropriate treatment for Withernsea. Location should be top priority. Unless it is too serious, the HU19 and HU12 postcodes should be dealt with at the 8 to 8 centre.”

Resident forum member Rodger Read said: “We have to have a good and honest dialogue with the CCG. They need to reassure us what they are doing is fit for purpose.”

The Gazette contacted the CCG which commissions services for its response to the letter, but it was unable to comment at the time of going to press.

*For a full transcript of the letter see the Gazette’s facebook page. See also page 3

The Holderness Gazette - Serving News to the Holderness Region