CAMPAIGNERS are urging Emsworth residents to make their voices heard at drop-in sessions discussing the future of the town’s surgery.
Two meetings this month will invite public opinion on options before a business case for the future development is submitted to the NHS by December 21.
One possibility is a refurbishment of the vacant Victoria Cottage Hospital, which the community is battling to save after it was put up for sale by NHS Property Services in July.
While fierce opposition from the Emsworth United campaign led to the site being taken off the market in August, no concrete plans have been made for its future since.
Other ideas include a 1.2-mile move to Redlands Lane, finding a completely new site or staying at the existing surgery in North Street – which has long been called ‘too cramped’ for its growing roster of patients.
Emsworth United spokesman David Thomas, who backs the option of a town centre facility, said it is crucial residents attend the sessions.
‘This is about the future of our healthcare in Emsworth and this new building will be for generations to come. It’s important people make their views known,’ he said.
‘We want a solution that promotes the health of both the community and the town centre.’
Since it launched, Emsworth United has backed the idea of the Victoria Cottage Hospital becoming a ‘health and wellbeing hub’, which would offer community services extending beyond that of a typical surgery.
Campaigners will continue to back this model –which could include facilities for diabetes groups, speech and language therapy and childcare – at the drop-in sessions.
Emsworth GP Dr Abu Chinwala said: ‘We want to hear people’s views. Public support for particular schemes will be a factor in the business case that Emsworth Surgery eventually puts forward to the NHS for consideration.
‘But it is important to stress that many other important factors will also have to be considered.
‘Particularly whether the options are operationally or financially viable, can be delivered within the tight timescale available or fit in with both national and local NHS policy and commissioning plans for the future of primary care.’
The sessions will feature display boards rather than a presentation and will give visitors the chance to informally discuss the surgery’s next steps with GPs and NHS representatives.
Information shared at the events will be available to view online from November 6, at southeasternhampshireccg.nhs.uk, accompanied by an online survey for residents to complete.
The drop-in sessions – which residents can attend at any time – will take place at the following times and places:
- Tuesday November 6. 5.30pm-7.30pm, Westbourne Parish Church (St John the
Baptist’s Church), The Grove, PO10 8UL
- Tuesday November 13, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Slipper Sailing Club’s function room, The
Quay, South Street, Emsworth, PO10 7EQ