Huge support for petition against loss of out-of-hours service at Richardson Hospital
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
CAMPAIGNERS unhappy at the decision to scrap an out-of-hours service in Teesdale say they are “overwhelmed” by the level of support for a petition against the decision.
Last month the Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Care Commissioning Group (CCG) announced the out-of-hours nurse practitioner clinic at the Richardson Hospital will be scrapped. The decision followed a 12-week consultation into how seven day access to primary care is delivered in County Durham.
Patients will now have to travel to Bishop Auckland or elsewhere – although the closure will be mitigated by an outreach programme for the frail and transport for people who will now have to travel further. However, members of Teesdale Labour Party put together a petition against the decision and took to the streets in Barnard Castle on Sunday, June 24. Campaign co-ordinator Jane Hackworth-Young said in just five hours the petition was signed by 683 people.
She said: “We had ten volunteers in town and the support we had was amazing. There were many people who knew of the service at the Richardson but were unable to access it for one reason or another.”
Fellow Labour Party member Ros Evans added: “The whole system is broken. There is no doubt this is a service cut to save money. The CCG needs to be a body that is answerable to the public and they have lost the confidence of the public.”
Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman, who said she was “extremely concerned” about the decision to scrap the service,, helped during the afternoon. Ms Goodman will be sending the petition to the CCG and a copy will also be sent to Cllr John Robinson, chair of Durham County Council’s health overview scrutiny committee.
The CCG says the service simply wasn’t used enough.