Rochdale Council Demands Feasibility Study into Health Closures

November 5, 2009 12:00 AM

Councilor Wera HobhouseRochdale Council have demanded a feasibility study be carried out into re-opening a local walk in centre after a damning report revealed that patient care was under severe pressure after a dramatic drop in performance levels of the service.

As part of the Healthy Futures Programme, which will eventually see all A&E and maternity services removed from Rochdale Infirmary, the local walk in centre and after hours GP services were merged with Rochdale A&E in August of this year.

However, this week a damning report was presented to Rochdale Council's Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee which provided clear evidence that there was a severe backlog of patents that are not being seen under the 4hour target. The report even suggested that staff may "vote with their feet" and morale will suffer if the department continues to be put under such pressure.

Chair of the Health Committee, Councillor Wera Hobhouse, who originally called for the report to be presented to the Council, said: "I called for this report because I wanted to highlight just how flawed the Healthy Futures Programme was from the start. Since the closure of the walk in centre there has been an increase in the number of patients but a cut in the numbers of staff dealing with them. This has brought with it a whole host of problems such as staff shortages and patient waiting times not being met. The bottom line is that we have to put patient's health care first which is why I have called for a feasibility study, looking into the possibility of re-opening of the walk in centre, to be presented to the council in early December."

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen, who has led the fight against the government's planned closure of Rochdale's A&E and maternity services said: "I have visited the centre on a number of occasions and spoken too many of the staff and I think it is important to note that this report is in no way critical of them. The blame lies squarely at the feet of the government and those hospital bosses that seem determined to move vital health services out of Rochdale. How can we have a situation where patients are sitting on corridor floors because there isn't any space for them? It is absolutely disgraceful. This is a critical situation and I believe that the hospital bosses now need to listen to the concerns of myself, the Council, patients and thousands of Rochdalians by re-opening the walk in centre and committing themselves to reversing their Healthy Futures Programme."