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Independents for Newark and District hold a march for urgent care

Independents for Newark and District will hold a Walk for Urgent Care this weekend, to demonstrate support for a 24-hour urgent care service.

The walk will be held on Sunday, June 16, and will start at 4pm in Newark Marketplace and proceed to Newark Hospital, aiming to show the NHS support from the area for extended hours at the Urgent Care Centre.

Susan Crosby launched a petition — which attracted more than 2,000 signatures — regarding extending the opening hours of Newark Hospital’s Urgent Treatment Centre from 9am to 9.30pm to be open 24 hours, seven days a week.

Independents for Newark Susan Crosby and Neil Ross.
Independents for Newark Susan Crosby and Neil Ross.

Susan said: “We want to have back what we used to have, especially now Newark’s population is growing rapidly. Thousands of houses have been built and occupied in and near Newark over the last five years. Many families and the elderly especially find it impossible to get to Kings Mill, Grantham or Lincoln Hospitals outside the Newark UTC opening hours.

“Much more housing is being built to the south of Newark, also at Fernwood, Farndon and Southwell. Where are these people to go with GP surgery appointments often by telephone only and waiting weeks to see a GP or nurse?”

“Newark's NHS and other health infrastructure cannot cope with the demands of our population growth. So, I’m asking people to come out on a Sunday for a couple of hours and collectively get their voices heard.”

Neil Ross, who will also be marching, said: “In 2010 Newark Hospital Accident and Emergency Department closed its doors. This closure was opposed by 70% of the people in Newark. At that time the people of Newark were assured by NHS Nottinghamshire that: ‘Retaining A&E is not possible. But the PCT has commissioned a 24/7 replacement. As a result, up to 85% of patients will still be treated at Newark, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For the first time, there will be a GP presence at Newark Hospital through the night. This means people will no longer have to travel outside the town to see a doctor.’

“The 24-hour Urgent Treatment service was part of a promise made to residents. In the 15 years that have elapsed since that promise was made, the population of Newark has grown. More young families have moved in, and the Office of National Statistics tells us there are more older people, with complex needs. Further growth is planned and projected.

“The need for medical care in Newark will always arise 24 hours a day, but now we are told that night care can only be provided at King's Mill Hospital. That is a 40-minute drive, or a £160 taxi fare, impossible for people living in the most deprived areas of this district.

“The people of Newark want, need and deserve access to medical care, 24 hours a day. This was the standard promised in 2010, and to remove it now would cause worry to residents, and damage confidence in the future of Newark.”

Attendees are asked to dress in white garments, bring posters and banners and walk from Newark Market via Bridge Street, Baldertongate, the Library Gardens, and Beaumond Gardens to London Road, then along Bowbridge Road to Newark Hospital.

There the crowd is to assemble peacefully to on the paths around Newark Hospital on Bowbridge and Boundary Roads show and share their feelings about the Urgent Treatment Centre, so as not to disturb patients, emergency vehicles and staff.

Speeches and slogans will instead be heard at the Marketplace starting at 4pm.

Anyone can join the walk, and bring their own banners. Walk for Urgent Care T-shirts will be available on a first come first served basis.

In March, NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care Board made a decision on the future of the centre, following a period of public engagement, extending the opening hours to 8am to 10.30pm with last admissions at 9.30pm, seven days a week.

The change, set to come into effect this summer, means that the service will be open for 14.5 hours per day, which exceeds the 12-hour minimum national standard for urgent treatment centre set by NHS England.

The board stated the decision was a “a positive and sustainable way forward for Newark Hospital”, based on “flexibility for the local population, current service usage, and operational and staffing levels”.

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