Hemel Hempstead MP, Sir Mike Penning, secured yesterday’s Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons to discuss the overnight closure of the town’s Urgent Care Centre.
Sir Mike said:
“I am very pleased that I have been able to hold this debate in Parliament. When we lost the A&E in Hemel to Watford, we were given an Urgent Care Centre as a sop. We were told that there would be urgent treatment available 24 hours a day.
“Suddenly, without any warning – or local consultation – we were told that the Urgent Care Centre would close between 10pm and 8am. At the time we were assured this was temporary and only for the ‘festive season’.
“That was back in 2016. No consultation was carried out and the overnight service never re-opened. Now, it has become an Urgent Treatment Centre (again without consultation) and a retrospective consultation on the opening hours is finally taking place.
“We have always been told that this is not about money, but about the availability of GPs willing to work the night-shift hours.
“Now I learn that at the public consultation meetings, the CCG are sitting people down and trying to convince them why the Urgent Treatment Centre would be better if it was not open 24 hours a day. Surely a consultation should listen to the public not attempt to convince them to opt for the organisations preferred result!”
“This consultation (though far too late) must be meaningful and take account of the residents’ views. I recognise that people have little faith in the consultation process, as they believe CCGs to be totally unaccountable, but I do encourage local people to take part. We need to let the CCG know how important it is for us to have 24-hour urgent treatment available.
The consultation can be found on the Herts Valleys CCG website and the closing date is 28 March.
Jon Wedger is about to embark on a walk from London to Manchester to raise funds and awareness.