Plans to move two vital NHS services in Sheffield have been criticised by councillors.
Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has extended a consultation asking residents about their views on a number of planned changes to January 31.
The Star exclusively revealed back in September a raft of plans which include moving both the city centre NHS Walk-in Centre on Broad Lane and the Minor Injuries Unit at the Hallamshire Hospital to the Northern General.
Many residents have opposed the plans and hit out at the move which will see longer journey times to access services. The CCG claim the move will simplify services.
Other changes include moving urgent eye appointments from the Hallamshire to opticians across the city and groups of GP practices will work together to offer urgent appointments within 24 hours. People will be assessed to decide if they need to see their own GP or can be seen by at a different GP practice in their local area.
The plans will be debated at a full-council meeting at the Town Hall tomorrow.
Graves Park Coun Steve Ayris, shadow cabinet member for health and social care put forward a motion to the council about the plans.
He said: “All the people I have spoken to are against these plans. Imagine you’re suffering from an illness or you have a problem with your eyes. You can’t get an appointment at your GP but you know you should get checked out.
"Under these plans, you would have to travel all the way to the Northern General Hospital and in a lot of cases, on public transport.
“The Liberal Democrats have been running a poll and so far, 98 per cent of people are against the plans. Moving everything to one place and away from half the city’s residents just doesn’t make sense.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Lib Dems on Sheffield Council called for councillors across different parties to come together.
He said: “Our health service is already at breaking point. It appears all this plan will do is put even more pressure onto the Northern General Hospital.
“I am calling on the leader of the council to set up a party leaders group on the council so we can coordinate our opposition to these plans. I believe this is something we need to work together on. Our health service should be above politics.”
Two public meetings have been held so far about the proposed changes but NHS bosses said they were 'disappointed' at the turn out.
Another meeting is planned for tomorrow at 1.30pm at Concept House, 5, Young Street, S1 4UP.
Dr Tim Moorhead, chair of NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “We were disappointed with the turnout at Broomhill and while the meeting at the Circle was attended by more people, we know that some concerns have been raised about the level of awareness of the consultation.
“We have also received feedback from the public and other organisations and groups that they would like to receive more information around the proposals and the extension will give us an opportunity to respond to this appropriately.
“I would like to emphasise how important it is that people feedback their views, concerns and ideas – we are listening and need to work together to ensure we have services fit to face the challenges of the future.”
He added the CCG was committed to a meaningful consultation with as many voices from across the city heard as possible – drawn from the different geographies and communities, including hard to reach groups such as homeless people.
“It is important we take the time necessary to ensure the final outcome is the right one for the people of Sheffield."
To let the CCG know what you think of the plans, click here
THE CHANGES AS DESCRIBED BY THE CCG IN FULL
Change the way people get urgent GP appointments
Groups of GP practices will work together to offer urgent appointments within 24 hours. People will be assessed to decide if they need to see their own GP or can be seen by at a different GP practice in their local area.
Change where people would go for minor illness and injuries
Currently, there is a walk-in centre in the city centre which treats minor illnesses and a minor injuries unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital that deals with adult minor injuries, while children with minor injuries are seen at the emergency department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. These would be replaced with two urgent treatment centres at Northern General Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital which would treat both minor illness and injuries and offer booked appointments as well as walk-in appointments.
Change where people go for urgent eye care Currently adults needing either urgent or emergency eye care are seen at the Emergency eye clinic at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. In the future, urgent appointments would be offered at opticians and other clinics across the city with extended opening times making it easier for people to get care closer to where they live. Emergency eye care (sight-threatening conditions) would continue to be provided at the Hallamshire.
Improve the way people access services These changes would be supported by an improved system where people can contact their practice or 111 and be assessed over the phone. They will then be booked an appointment or signposted to the right place for the care they need.