Local NHS campaigners have welcomed the news that Hemlington Medical Centre has received a contract extension, guaranteeing the medical centre for at least another year.
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop, Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor Dave Budd and Hemlington councillors Jeanette Walker and Nicky Walker were outraged when they heard that the NHS were consulting on proposals around closure of the surgery at the end of December 2014
Their petition quickly raised over 500 signatures and residents packed into a special meeting of Hemlington Community Council at which they pleaded for the future of their surgery.
Tom Blenkinsop MP said:
“The reprieve for Hemlington Medical Centre for a year is obviously a welcome one. Whilst it is good news that the medical centre will remain open for at least the medium term we obviously can’t rest on our laurels. What will happen after a year? We could find ourselves back in the position of having to fight for its future so by no means is the campaign over. I, along with my Labour colleagues, will continue to fight for our NHS.”
Deputy Mayor Dave Budd said:
“I’m delighted that the potential for future patients, with over 2,000 properties planned in the surrounding area and over 1,000 virtually on the doorstep at Hemlington Grange, has finally been recognised and the NHS have revised their plans. Anyone who knows this area appreciates just how much Hemlington needs this surgery.”
Hemlington ward councillors Jeanette Walker and Nicky Walker said:
“It’s a huge relief that patients in Hemlington will not now be losing the only surgery we have right before Christmas. We’d like to thank everyone in our fantastic community for all their support, Middlesbrough Council’s Health Scrutiny Panel for the key part they have played and NHS England for listening and changing their proposals.”
In an update to the Scrutiny Panel NHS England now recognise the scale of housing development planned for the area and acknowledge the value that patients place on the service provided.
The revised proposals include looking to extend the current contract for a further year during which time they will conduct more extensive engagement with patients and other stakeholders and develop a revised set of proposals for a sustainable service, which they will further consult on if necessary.