Conservatives say attempts to halt partial closure of Welwyn Garden City Urgent Care Centre 'hijacked'

PUBLISHED: 14:11 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:21 24 July 2019

The urgent care centre at QEII in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: NHS.

The urgent care centre at QEII in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: NHS.

Archant

Ahead of Thursday's public meeting on the future of Welwyn Garden City's urgent care centre, Conservatives say their motion to halt opening hours changing was "hijacked" by the Liberal Democrats last night.

Cllr Fionna Thomson proposing the motion on the urgent care centre. Picture: WHBC webcast.Cllr Fionna Thomson proposing the motion on the urgent care centre. Picture: WHBC webcast.

Welwyn Hatfield borough councillor Fiona Thomson asked her fellow councillors to request - in a full council motion - the East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to withdraw its proposals to shut the QEII urgent care centre from 10pm to 8am.

The motion also asked the CCG to investigate why the UCC has not been better used and "consider a wider offer to encourage better use of the facility and support local residents".

"No work has been done by the CCG to see why our residents have not been using the UCC overnight," said Cllr Thomson.

But due to an amendment by the Liberal Democrats leader Malcolm Cowan - which would require the council to state the NHS has been underfunded nationally and to write to the next prime minister on this matter - the Conservatives could not vote for their own motion.

"The underlying problem is the NHS is being underfunded by central government," Cllr Cowan said.

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The amended motion was subsequently carried by both the Liberal Democrats and Labour councillors voting in favour.

Cllr Thomson, who originally proposed the motion, said she had was "deeply disappointed" it had become political, adding that the amended motion allowed the CCG to shift the focus of its decision to central government.

A public meeting tomorrow will also allow residents to talk about the proposed changes to the opening hours with the East and North Herts CCG's CEO, Beverley Flowers, as well as local GPs.

Dr Prag Moodley, a GP and chair of the CCG, explained the meetings "are another chance to learn more and ask questions about the proposals".

He added: "We believe that when the urgent care centre isn't busy, the best use of their skills is to help people with life-threatening emergencies at our A&E at the Lister Hospital."

The meeting will take place from 12.30pm to 2.30pm at the Focolare Centre for Unity, 50 Parkway, Welwyn Garden City.

Another event will also be held on August 15, from 7pm to 9pm, at a location to be confirmed in the Welwyn Hatfield area.

For more on the UCC proposals and events please see qeiiucc.enhertsccg.nhs.uk.

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