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'Peaceful but very strong' protest planned at health centre closure

Thursday, 26th July 2012.

Haverhill Town Councillors have re-affirmed their determination to fight to protect and improve healthcare in the town, following NHS Suffolk’s decision to reduce spending in the town by £1.2million through the closure of the Crown Health Centre and walk-in centre.

The centre closes for the last time on Saturday and town councillors will be in attendance between 9am and 4pm on the day to show their support for over 22,000 registered and walk-in patients who have used its services, and for the staff facing redundancy.

They will be joined by West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock. Town mayor Pat Hanlon said of the demonstration: “We want to send a peaceful but very strong message to the PCT that the town demands its fair share of resources.

"Since announcing the closure, NHS Suffolk have focused their efforts on telling people to go to their pharmacist for help.

"This shows that they accept that GP surgeries won’t be able to cope, and the message is that Haverhill will have to settle for a second class health service. We are not prepared to let their actions go unchallenged.”

Councillors are also angry that recent announcements by NHS Suffolk about funding imply that the savings from the Crown are being reinvested in Haverhill.

Councillor Hanlon added: “It simply isn’t true. The funding announced for dementia services and the refurbishment of a local clinic is not new money – it would have been spent anyway – and it won’t do anything to help maintain GP and out-of-hours provision in Haverhill.”

Matthew Hancock MP, who has been a strong supporter of the healthcare campaign in Haverhill, said: “We must continue to push for a fair allocation of the savings made from the Crown closure.”

Haverhill’s population is expected to rise by some 10,000 by 2031 to 35,000, a size that would warrant a local hospital. Councillors are perplexed that instead of responding to this with appropriate planning, NHS Suffolk appears to be withdrawing from the town.

They ppint to the fact that the nearest hospitals are 40 minutes away from Haverhill in Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.

The town council says it is determined to highlight the dangers posed to its community by NHS Suffolk’s actions.

Haverhill Online News

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