Campaigners will protest against proposals to close the only walk-in-centre in the county in Lincoln this evening.
Members from unions including Unison, the University of Lincoln Students’ Union and the Fighting for Life Lincolnshire branch will be joined by local residents to oppose the plans outside the Accident and Emergency department at Lincoln County Hospital between 6pm and 7pm on Wednesday, July 5.
If approved, plans would see the doors to the Walk-In-Centre on Monks Road closed for good.
Lincolnshire West CCG, behind the proposals, has said the service would instead be replaced with extended opening hours and improvements to self-diagnosis services such as 111 phone consultations.
Unison members are arguing that a closure would lead to an “increased workload on overstretched GP practice ad the city’s A&E department”.
Lincolnshire Unison’s media officer Tracey Harrison said: “Over 34,000 people every year will have to find alternative appointments at their doctors surgery or A&E department.
“The contract for the walk in centre will end in September 2017 if the plans are voted through. There are serious concerns about the availability of alternative provision particularly in the already overstretched GP surgeries.
“We are holding Wednesday’s protest to show the local community is totally against closing this valuable service.”
They have chosen to host the demonstration outside the A&E entrance on Greetwell Road, where staff have for months been dealing with considerable pressure and understaffing.
Patients have recently been met with signs advising that the department is very busy and patients who need non-emergency medical help fast should visit the walk-in-centre.
One resident posted their concerns on social media after taking pictures of the posters. United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, when questioned by The Lincolnite over warnings of flu and ward closures, said the signs were out of date and were in the process of being removed.
Hospital: ‘Don’t disrupt services’
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust issued the following statement after the protest was announced, requesting that the demonstration is held off the hospital premises:
“The consultation on the proposed closure of Lincoln Walk in Centre is being run by Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, not United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust as we don’t run the service and the decision is not made by us.
“We are currently considering the proposals and have not yet determined what effect the closure may have on our A&E services.
“The safety of our patients is our top priority. Whilst we respect the public’s right to protest, we would ask that this protest is held off ULHT property to limit the impact on the safe running of our services.
“We encourage people to share their views via the formal consultation process.”