A man whose life was potentially saved by the Station Plaza walk-in medical centre was among a group who handed in a petition calling the the centre to stay open.
Two years ago Ian Stewart had a stroke while he was in Hastings Town Centre. He was accompanied to the walk-in centre where his stroke was diagnosed and an ambulance was called to take him swiftly to Eastbourne Hospital. Without a town centre walk-in facility, he would have had to travel up to the Conquest and to demonstrate how long that would have taken yesterday he took the bus to the Conquest and it took him 55 minutes to get there, critical time for someone who has suffered a stroke.
Campaigners aiming to keep the Station Plaza Walk-in Health Centre in Hastings town centre open plan to meet on Saturday to focus public attention on the threatened closure.
The meeting will take place outside the walk-in centre, next to Hastings Railway Station at 1pm. The protesters, all Hastings residents, want to reinforce their message to the local health authority that the proposed walk-in centre closure is a bad idea, particularly given its central location and the urgent health needs of local people.
In early summer, proposals to close the crucial service and re-locate it to the Conquest Hospital were set out by the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation responsible for planning for the health needs of people across this part of East Sussex. Now, however, there are signs that the resident campaigners are being listened to.
Yesterday the petition with approaching 4,000 signatures was presented to Dr David Warden Chair of the Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group. Signatures were collected online and at regular weekend stalls in King’s Road and town centre set up by members of the local Labour party.
Lead petitioner Erica Smith said this week: “It is good that our pressure has meant the CCG has now acknowledged residents’ deep concerns. Moving the walk-in centre to the Conquest Hospital would mean it would no longer be accessible to the people who currently use it, particularly when in Hastings there is already a shortage of GPs.
“However, no confirmation that the closure threat has been lifted has been received. Currently, the walk-in service is open from 8am to 8pm. Because it is next door to Hastings station, it is easy to reach by public transport. On the Saturday morning, we will have a stall outside the Co–op in Ore, and a group of Ore residents plan to travel to the walk-in centre on the Number 20 bus to join the protest.”
The protest will run from 1pm – 1.30pm, and everyone who attends will be encouraged to share their experiences of the support the health centre has given them and the reasons why they think the walk-in centre needs to stay in the town centre.
Local singer Lily Kim, whose infected foot was saved by the walk-in centre medical staff, will be performing to the crowd to show her support.
.The walk-in centre protest is tomorrow (Saturday) at 1pm, at Station Plaza.