Campaign ‘not being ignored’

Fens and Rossmere councilor Alan Clark has written an open letter opposing plans to close the health centre at Fens.
Fens and Rossmere councilor Alan Clark has written an open letter opposing plans to close the health centre at Fens.

A CAMPAIGNING councillor who is battling to save a medical centre has welcomed news that his concerns are being listened to.

Alan Clark has berated proposals to close down a medical practice at the Fens, in Hartlepool, in order to merge it with the nearby Wynyard Road Primary Care Centre.

Coun Clark claims the proposals don’t take into account the South West extension which could see up to 2,700 new houses built.

As part of his fight, the Labour representative for Fens and Rossmere, wrote directly to Dame Barbara Hakin, director of commissioning at NHS England, to air his views.

And Coun Clark was delighted to get a response earlier this week on behalf of the health chief.

The letter read: “Let me take this opportunity to thank you for your response and the issues highlighted in relation to the practice, which will be given due consideration as part of the review currently underway and subsequent decision making process.

“The review of services across Durham, Darlington and Tees is an essential process necessitated by the imminent end date of these contracts, the review includes the Fens, Wynyard Road and Hartfields contracts in Hartlepool.

“This process is undertaken across the country by NHS England’s Area Teams when these types of contracts come to an end, and a series of factors including quality and value for money are considered.

“Please be assured that the NHS England Area Team of Durham, Darlington and Tees has examined a wide range of factors as part of the work done in preparation of the consultation process including social, economic, environmental, capacity in the area and health factors.

“In respect of your comments regarding housing developments, the information we have included in the stakeholder document is in respect of developments where planning permission has been granted so the likely increase in local residents will be taken into account.”

The letter ended with a reassurance that Coun Clark’s views would be taken into consideration prior to any final decision being rubber-stamped.

It added: “I would like to reiterate that, at this stage, a decision regarding the future of the APMS practices in Hartlepool has not been taken, and I can confirm that your views, as will the views of all stakeholders and patients, will be taken into consideration as part of the final decision-making process.”

Coun Clark said: “I received the response to my letter from Cameron Ward who will be making the ultimate decision on the closures.

“It is good that we are not being ignored and are being listened to on this issue.

“The good news is that the proposed South West Extension, and the potential extra homes, will now be included in the consultation, which was what I set out to achieve when penning the letter.”