Protest march in support of north Essex health services
A protest march is taking place tomorrow in support of Clacton’s Minor Injury Unit (MIU) as the end of a consultation on health facilities in north Essex draws to a close.
The North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking for the public views on the future of the Clacton and Harwich MIUs, and the Walk-in Centre in Colchester.
A consultation, which ends on Wednesday, March 1, is considering all options – including closing some or all of the facilities, or potentially creating a single unit for Tendring.
Hundreds of people are expected to join a march called by the Tendring Pensioners’ Action Group (TenPAG) for 11.30am tomorrow, from Victoria Road along the Clacton seafront, in support of the town’s unit.
Mike Le Cornu, TenPAG chairman, said the march would add to the almost 2,000 signatures on an online petition.
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He added: “What we are demanding is not only that the MIUs don’t close, but that they should be enhanced with more medical facilities in both Harwich and Clacton.
“If they close them it means people will have to travel to Colchester, putting more pressure on A&E.
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“A centralised Tendring unit would mean more travelling for everyone.”
There is a second online petition in support of the Clacton unit launched by UKIP district councillor Andrew Pemberton with 1,300 signatures.
According to the CCG, the Harwich unit costs £350k per year to run with an average of 14 minor injury patients a day – Clacton costs £1.5million and sees 51 patients, and Colchester £3.5m and sees 50 patients.
Dominic Graham, a Colchester borough councillor who has launched a petition in support of the Colchester centre, said: “It is common sense to keep them all open.
“The Walk-in Centre provide a vital service, which without the knock-on effect on A&E and the wider hospital would be significant.
“I would like people to sign the petition but also have their say in the actual consultation.”
Ivan Henderson, a Harwich councillor, added: “I have been to some of the consultation meetings, and the CCG is hearing from the public major concerns about losing these services.
“Closing them would be a short-term solution which I believe will have long-term consequences for people’s health, and the NHS.”
Once the consultation ends, various CCG committees will look at the feedback before the board makes a final decision in May.