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Reader’s letter: Town deserves equality in healthcare

I am writing as one of the Labour town and district councillors for Devon Ward, which includes Newark Hospital.

I would like to thank Nottinghamshire ICB for increasing the opening hours of the Urgent Care Centre by an hour and half per day.

They have listened to the voice of the people, myself and the Newark Labour Party on the issue.


It clearly has been a difficult decision for the ICB after 14 years of under funding by the current government.

The vast majority of people in Devon Ward quite understandably believe Newark Hospital should have its own Accident and Emergency Department. I reluctantly accept that, at the moment, this is not something that can be achieved in the short term but must continue to be a longer-term objective.

It is with regret that I have to say that the decision to permanently close the Urgent Care Centre overnight even with the extra 11/2 hours, which we appreciate is still not sufficient.

The people I represent believe:

• The UTC should be open 24 hours a day in the same way as Grantham.

• The distance they need to travel when the UTC is closed is unreasonably excessive. Many do not have their own transport and there is no public transport available during the closing times.

• Ambulance services in Newark often significantly exceed the national waiting times meaning for many there is no access to medical care when the UTC is closed. The elderly and those with no transport are left over night without easily accessible healthcare.

• Despite closing time being 10.30pm, on occasions people are being told to go to alternative hospitals as early as 6pm. If correct, it is unacceptable.

I recognise we have seen real improvements on what is available in Newark Hospital and also the fantastic work staff do at this hospital. I also recognise that the NHS and ICB’s are facing a really challenging financial position.

I feel the people of Newark should not have to suffer as a result of government underfunding. Newark has a right to an equal quality of health provision with the smaller town of Grantham.

I am aware the ICB has conducted a public engagement exercise and listened to that, however, before any permanent decision was made, according to NHS Regulations they should have implemented NHS Regulation 14Z45 and carried out a full public consultation exercise.

I will be happy to work with the ICB to improve health provision in Newark that includes keep fighting for the Urgent Care Centre to be open 24 hours a day.

If we all work together we can get our 24 hour urgent care centre back. — PAUL TAYLOR, Labour town and district councillor.

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