Overnight closure of Newark Hospital's urgent care centre greeted with disappointment at Nottinghamshire County Council
The continuing overnight closure of Newark Hospital’s urgent treatment centre has been greeted with disappointment by local politicians who questioned when the NHS would be able to staff the service again.
The hospital’s urgent treatment centre is to remain closed to overnight admissions for another 12 months because it is “not possible to safely staff” the service.
The closure has been extended until the end of June 2023 after first being closed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Councillor David Martin (Ind) said he was disappointed to see the announcement.
The comments were made at the Nottinghamshire County Council health scrutiny committee on June 14.
Mr Martin said: “It has a detrimental impact on the residents of Newark. What is the plan to find staff for this?
“There was a five-a-side football match in Newark and one of the guys had a stroke on the pitch.
“By the time he got to Newark Hospital in the back of a car because the ambulance could not get there quick enough, because we went after five past ten, they then had to drive him by car to Kings Mill which is a 40-minute drive as you know.
“Can we afford to wait another year to maintain this situation? How long can we kick this can down the road so to speak?
“Newark is the largest area in Nottinghamshire which has the worst facilities overnight.”
Sue Saddington (Con) responded: “Residents of Newark speak extremely highly of the hospital.
“I’m sure you would agree that if they can’t staff it at night, it is far better that they choose work from 8am till 8pm when they have got staff.
“I fully agree they should carry on as it is for the next 12 months.
“What happens in the future will be decided at this committee with these members when it is right to do so.
“If I had a stroke, I would much rather be taken to a bigger hospital than a smaller hospital that doesn’t have the facilities.
“I would hate to think I was going to a hospital that wasn’t properly staffed.”
Michelle Welsh (Lab) added: “Since April 2020 there has been a staff shortage, how is that going to change within 12 months?
“When you hear personal stories about how long it takes for people to get the treatment they need, it is concerning.”
Alex Ball, Director of Communications and Engagement at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have a meeting next week to answer detailed questions from councillor Debbie Darby on this.
“If and when there are other changes or proposals, this will be one of the very first places we will come to report back on that.”