Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red Cap's Mum in Fight to Save Centre

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Red Cap's Mum in Fight to Save Centre

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Kelly Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk

BATTLING Pat Long has joined the last-ditch fight to keep a muchused Tyneside Walk-In Centre for patients open.

Last week Pat failed in her long legal fight to get an independent inquiry into the death of her Red Cap son Paul Long in Iraq in 2003.

Corporal Long, 24, and five Royal Military Police colleagues - including Cpl Simon Miller, 21, of Washington - died on June 24, 2003 after the police station where they were sent, in Majar-al-Kabir in south-east Iraq, was surrounded and attacked.

The radio they had was so ineffective, they were unable to call for help.

Now Pat is part of the battle to keep the Jarrow Walk-In Centre based at Palmer Community Hospital open.

She said: "It's something that is desperately needed and the local community is united in fighting to keep it open." The NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group wants to replace the centre - which dealt with 27,000 patients last year - with an urgent care hub at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields about four miles away.

However it provoked a series of local protests but last November, after a threemonth local consultation, the CCG decided to press ahead with the plan to open it in October.

A submission for a full review of the decision was made to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt but was knocked back by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel which instead said an action plan needed - which the CCG says has been put in place.

However local protestors have not giving up their fight.

Pat, of Jarrow, said: "It's too far away for most people to get to. It's at least a car ride away - and not everyone has a car. And there's only one bus from Palmer Hospital.

"Closing it just doesn't make any sense. It is supposed to relieve pressure on the hospital but this decision just seems like it is going to add to that pressure. …

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