In light of the recent announcement by North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group that the overnight closure of the Urgent Care Centre will remain in place whilst the CCG undertake a further procurement exercise to find someone to run their proposed Urgent Treatment Centre, here is a joint statement Mary Glindon and myself put out earlier this week;
“The CCG proposal as it stands is unacceptable. Effectively the temporary closure of the Urgent Care Centre at Rake Lane is to become permanent, without proper consultation but with a so called "engagement exercise" instead. Residents across North Tyneside will be receiving a lesser service than patients at Wansbeck and Hexham where a 24 hour service has resumed, despite them being less busy centres. The reason for that is entirely the fault of North Tyneside CCG who took the decision not to reopen, at the last minute.
The proposal will leave urgent care at Rake Lane open for even fewer hours than now and it isn't clear whether patients will be able to walk in or will need an appointment. The NHS is there to serve the needs of patients not the needs of the CCG.
Instead of directing people from Cramlington - which caused the need for closure in the first place - the will instead be pushed to Cramlington or Newcastle. The irony is that this announcement came on the same day as the Ambulance Trust warned that waiting times could be longer. The rest of us will be left with an inadequate 111 telephone service or a return to a discredited locum service.
If as the CCG says it has a duty to spend taxpayers money wisely did they waste so much money on the flawed first procurement exercise? This appears to be financially driven and the CCG are hiding behind new Government guidelines which are themselves driven by the chronic underfunding of the NHS. We thought CCG's were there for patients and not to do the Government’s dirty work.
We strongly believe that the Urgent Care Centre at Rake Lane should return to 24 hour opening to relieve pressure on Cramlington and in line with Hexham and Wansbeck. We also need the service to be based at Rake Lane as residents said and there must be full and proper consultation.
The CCG says that the did a detailed consultation before but now intend to ignore it. That consultation supported a "one stop shop" and said it must be at Rake Lane. Instead our constituents face a downgraded service at Rake Lane or at worst none at all, and all that without proper consultation. That represents a gross failure by the CCG in almost every regard.”