Sheffield MP blasts city NHS bosses over plans to close Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit

Heeley MP Louise Haigh has hit out at the decision to close and move both the Minor Injuries Unit and the Walk-in Centre
Heeley MP Louise Haigh has hit out at the decision to close and move both the Minor Injuries Unit and the Walk-in Centre
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A Sheffield MP has hit out at plans to close and move the NHS Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit.

Heeley MP Louise Haigh called the proposals set out by Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group as 'reckless' and 'short-sighted'.

Health bosses want to shake-up urgent care in the city by closing the city centre and Hallamshire Hospital sites and move the services to the Northern General Hospital.

CCG figures say the move to one site for minor illness and injury will make it 'simpler for patients to understand' and will make 'more effective use of staff'.

But residents reacting to the news called the move 'insane' and 'stupid' and 'crazy'.

It was revealed 60,000 people use the Walk-in Centre and 18,000 people attend the the Minor Injuries Unit has each year.

Ms Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley told The Star: “The proposal to close the minor injuries unit at Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the Walk-in Centre is short-sighted and reckless.

"These are well-used facilities and the only provisions in the whole of the south of Sheffield and closure would force people to either trek to the other side of the city or heap more pressure on already-strained GP surgeries.”

“This facility is vital for the local community and closure would be a serious mistake.”

Other changes in the consultation include urgent eye appointments being offered at opticians across the city 'closer to people's homes'. Emergency care will continue at the Hallamshire.

Groups of GPs working together to get more people seen on the same day when they ask for an appointment.

Sheffield councillors across different political parties condemned the move by NHS bosses in a recent vote on Wednesday after a motion was put forward by the Liberal Democrats.

Many have reacted with anger on social media at plans to close and move the services to the Northern General.

Chris Tosseano said: "Stupid idea, for all concerned - those who live nearer to the Hallamshire and city will have a long way to go.

"Those that live near the Northern General will have an even longer wait than they do now - lots over 6 hour waits. The parking at the Northern is a nightmare as it is at the Hallamshire but patients near the walk-in can do just that, walk in."

Christine Morton posted: It needs to stay where it is or at least in the city centre. NGH is too far for those of us to travel on public transport when we live at Crosspool, Fulwood and Lodge Moor etc."

David Thomas added: "Another idea that has not been thought out, as everyone is saying parking at NGH is a nightmare and for us it's at the far side of town. We are seriously short of facilities in the south of Sheffield and moving this to NGH will just drive waiting times up."

Bruce Sachs said: "Insane! The Broad Lane Walk-in Centre is there because NGH is so inaccessible. We need to be increasing and improving healthcare provision in the central and south-east areas. The trip from Broad Lane to NGH can easily take an hour."

Kathy Bestwick posted: "Please don't move it. It saved my life last Christmas Day when I was so Ill. I couldn't have got to the NGH as it's completely the other side of Sheffield from me. The people there were so lovely I couldn't stop saying thank you for being here today."

Anne Boyden added: "A crazy idea that must be more about cost cutting than providing adequate health services to all Sheffield residents. An untenable situation for those living in the south of the city."

Sheffield CCG chair Dr Tim Moorhead said: "We have challenges that we have to address in urgent care, including the availability of a skilled workforce in the years ahead - with
GP retirements, people leaving the profession early and fewer people joining it.

"We are currently in a strong position in Sheffield and want to keep it that way. We also have to respond to what people have told us over the last couple of years and one key theme has been access to urgent GP appointments, which is difficult in some areas.

"These proposals are about improving access to urgent care in our communities across the city, as well creating the new urgent treatment centres. We want less people to need to travel to use the centres because they get the care they need quickly and in their own neighbourhood by GP practices working together and improved access to other healthcare professionals locally.

"We have heard directly from many people at public meetings, drop-ins and we have seen more responses coming in - which we hope will continue until the extended deadline of January 31.

"The consultation is about gathering people's views about the proposals as well as any ideas, concerns and experiences that help us find the right system for Sheffield - one which works for all our communities and will face the challenges of the years ahead."

To take part in the consulation and let the CCG know what you think of the plans, click here