As public backlash mounted, controversial plans to shut the Broad Lane NHS walk-in centre and the minor injuries unit at Royal Hallamshire hospital are to be revised.
Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will consider the proposals again on Thursday after criticism from local residents and several petitions, signed by thousands of people.
Laura Gordon, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary campaigner for Sheffield Hallam, who started one of the petitions, said: “I would like to thank the CCG for engaging with us and taking people’s concerns seriously.”
Back in 2017, the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee decided to open a new Urgent Treatment Centre at Northern General Hospital in an attempt to reduce patient confusion about where to access services.
Mrs Gordon also said: “I don’t think the Northern General Hospital can take any more services moving to the site. The car park is always full and the public transport is a nightmare, especially if you’re travelling from the south of the city.”
Strength of feeling
The CCG’s recommendation to close the Walk-In Centre and the Minor Injuries Unit will now be reconsidered, meaning the services could stay open for at least another 18 months while they review the plans.
A CCG spokesperson said: “We did city-wide consultation at the end of last year and we have been considering feedback from the public and all our partners.
“Based on the strength of feeling and a change in national, policy we’ve decided that perhaps we could look to see if there are alternatives for us to provide urgent care services in the city.”
Many people have also voiced concerns that moving the services will make them less accessible for Sheffield City Centre residents, especially the elderly.
Their current location close to the University of Sheffield campus is especially convenient for university students, too. In 2017, the University’s Students’ Union engaged in the discussion to express students’ thoughts on the potential closure.
Lilian Jones, the SU President, said: “This result shows how powerful the student voice is when we work together to achieve something. We’re really grateful that the Clinical Commissioning Group engaged with us and have appeared to have listened to the feedback we gave them.”
Concern across the city
Local politicians have also expressed their support for keeping the current services instead of opening an Urgent Care Centre at Northern General Hospital.
Delighted to hear that our voice has been heard and that the closure of the Minor Injuries Unit and Walk-In Centre has been put on hold pending further consultation. We look forwards to engaging with @NHSSheffieldCCG as these plans develop to ensure our students are represented.
— The Student Advice Centre @ Sheffield SU (@SheffieldSAC) September 14, 2018
Martin Phipps, Green Councillor for City ward and member of the City Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said: “I welcome the CCG accepting our views.
“Parties of all different colours worked together to voice the concerns of the residents they represent and how the people of Sheffield felt about the proposals and consultation.”
The future of the two services will be decided at a meeting on Thursday 20 September.