Sheffield NHS bosses reveal decision date on possible plan to close Minor Injuries Unit and Walk-in Centre
The Minor Injuries Unit at the Hallamshire Hospital and the Walk-in Centre in the city centre are under threat of closure and being moved to the Northern General.
A decision is being made in the autumn at the earliest.
Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole and homeless and rough sleeper charity Archer Project both expressed concerns about the proposals along with MPs and city councillors and hundreds of residents from the south west and south east of Sheffield.
NHS staff responding to the consultation who were in favour of the changes said having the services in one centre made ‘access easier and less confusing’.
It was also argued due to limited resources the single centre made more sense. Staff were also ‘hopeful’ this would ‘reduce A&E attendance’.
But those who opposed the plans – some 51 per cent – said the Northern General was inaccessible due to its size, location and parking and ‘the city should have two emergency departments’.
They added the Northern General ‘doesn’t cope with the demand on its services as it is’.
The changes were viewed as ‘potentially dangerous putting more pressure on staff’ to treat more people.
The consultation has cost the taxpayer Â£51,193 – which covered the costs of producing and distributing information, holding public meetings, two telephone surveys, independent analysis and reporting of the feedback
Areas of particular concern from the consultation included:
ï‚· Locating services at the Northern General Hospital, mainly about transport, journey times, parking and access for people in the south of the city.
ï‚· GPs’ capacity to cope with more urgent patients and if this can definitely be achieved
ï‚· Loss of services in the city centre – strength of feeling that need urgent care services in the city centre.
But plans to work more closely to improve the rate of same-day appointments was welcomed in the consultation.
From 2,290 respondents to the main survey, nearly 80 per cent said the plans did not make it simpler to know where to go for urgent care. Some 65 per cent said ‘no’ while a further 26 per cent said ‘not sure’.
On the same question, 68 per cent of NHS staff who responded said ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’.
On the three options offered on the consultation, none included keeping the current services.
Out of the 2,290 respondents, more than half skipped the question or answered ‘none of the above’.
The majority of people responding to the consultation opposed the plans and suggested alternatives to reinstate the A&E at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, building an urgent treatment centre in the south of Sheffield or generally keep the services there are.
The lengthy report was criticised by Sheffield city ward councillor Douglas Johnson.
He said: “It’s quite clear there is widespread opposition to the closure of the Walk-In Centre, in City ward, and the Minor Injuries Unit.
“I said the CCG asked the wrong questions in their consultation and should drop the proposals now. It is astonishing the CCG has written 350 pages to say they will bump the decision off until later in the year.
“What patients need is better healthcare from their own local GP. This isn’t being addressed by the CCG’s plans but could save the NHS overall a lot of money, most of which is being ploughed into very expensive hospitals.”
In a report which will be discussed at a CCG meeting next week, health bosses said they were aware of the ‘strength of feeling’ and the opposition to the plans.
Dr Tim Moorhead, chair of NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “The meeting on Thursday is the first opportunity for our Primary Care Commissioning Committee to consider the independent analysis of this feedback and the next steps for responding to the issues raised.
“We know people are keen to understand the timetable – we plan to report back to the committee in May to provide an update. However, we will not be putting forward any final recommendations until the autumn at the earliest. It is important we take the time needed to look carefully at all the voices we have heard and put forward the best recommendations to the committee for the people of Sheffield.”
Top responses by postcode
S8 - 541
S10 - 343
S11 - 244
Worst postcode response
S4 - 16
S36 - 17
S1 - 19