Scores protest to save Hastings walk-in centre
Scores of campaigners fighting to keep the Station Plaza Walk-in Health Centre in the town centre held another protest on Saturday (October 13).
Organisers of the get-together said the event was the third and biggest of the campaign’s protests so far.
More than 70 people gathered outside the walk-in centre and shared their experiences of using the facility and why it was important it remain in its current location.
Campaigners said the group of protestors increased in size when the number 20 bus from Ore drew in to the station bus depot.
Campaigner Erica Smith said: “On Saturday morning we collected signatures for the petition in Ore and travelled down to the walk-in centre on the number 20, gathering support and more signatures for the petition from the passengers on the bus.
“We wanted to show how easy it is to get to the walk-in centre by public transport. More than 30 number 20 buses a day come here, from as far as Ore and Hollington. It is much easier to reach Station Plaza than to get to the Conquest for an appointment.”
Councillor Judy Rogers pointed out that a return journey to the Conquest by bus for a parent and ill child could cost £7.80, money they said would be better spent on food and heating.
The event was also attended by two rough sleepers and a former homeless man, who all emphasised how important the centre is for the street community, campaigners said.
A fourth gathering at the walk-in centre has been arranged for Saturday, December 1 at 1pm, and campaigners have set up a new Facebook group to help share information and encourage residents to lobby their MP and the CCG, NHS and East Sussex Better Together.
For more information visit Swish: Save our Walk-In Service Hastings on Facebook.
A statement on Hastings and Rother Clinical Commission Group’s (CCG) website said: “In March this year, the East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) CCGs - Hastings and Rother (HR) CCG and Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford (EHS) CCG - presented their initial proposals to improve urgent care services for local people to the East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC).
“These outlined proposals to develop Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs)at our two hospitals, the Conquest in Hastings and the District General Hospital in Eastbourne.
“The proposals included the possibility of re-locating walk-in services from their current town centre locations to the hospitals. This was to provide the best possible service to local people by bringing together a number of services to provide an integrated and consistently high-quality service that would best meet the needs of local people.
“Since we presented these proposals earlier in the year we have received a range of feedback from local people and key stakeholders, and have developed a more in-depth understanding of the people who currently access our urgent primary care services.
“This prompted us to re-look at our initial proposals over the summer and we are currently finalising the outcome of this review. The provision of a primary care community hub in Hastings town centre is one of the options being considered as part of the review of the CCGs’ proposals.
“While we conclude our review all patients registered at Hastings Medical Practice will continue to have on-going access to GP services with no break in the provision of services. Local people will still be able to access walk-in services, seven days a week, from 8am-8pm. For patients already registered with a GP at our current walk-in centres, appointments continue as normal.
“The ESBT CCGs expect to confirm our proposals by the end of autumn and will publicly engage on these proposals later in the year to gain feedback from local people which will be considered when finalising our plans.”