Archive for 30 Jun ’11

Hertford Urgent Care Centre closure – Tories did nothing

Cllr Tony Jackson’s meetings with his Tory colleagues reported in this week’s Mercury to discuss Hertford’s Urgent Care Centre are too little and far too late. It was on February 17th that the Evaluation Panel, including Tory Councillors to ‘represent’ the local community, voted unanimously to close the Urgent Care Centres in Hertford and Cheshunt. Yet only now, four months later, has Cllr Jackson done anything.

In April I went to 10 Downing Street to hand in a letter asking the Prime Minister to intervene to save Hertford’s Urgent Care Centre. Last month a health minister replied to me pointing out that closing the Urgent Care Centre was a local decision and that the Evaluation Panel had voted to close it. There was no reference to the Government’s NHS reforms or other excuse.

When Broxbourne’s Tory MP raised the issue of the closure of Cheshunt’s Urgent Care Centre in Parliament, as well as organising a protest march and petition, the Government again pointed to the Evaluation Panel vote as justification for its closure. But at least Cheshunt will have a Minor Injuries Unit and extra GP service funded by Tory led Broxbourne Council. And what was Mark Prisk MP doing to save Hertford’s Urgent Care Centre? Well; he did write a column in the Mercury attacking the local Labour Party about the issue.

So yes Cllr Jackson; I am emotional. The NHS matters to me, it matters to people in Hertford and its sickening the way that you and your Tory colleagues have let us down in East Herts. A little more action and emotion and Hertford would have got a better deal.

Future challenges facing Hertford and Stortford

There are many challenges facing Hertford and Stortford. Looking ahead I see four particular issues:

  • An aging population – there are a higher than average number of pensioner only households. Fuel poverty is a big concern as many pensioners are on low incomes in dwellings with high heating costs,
  • The need for more affordable housing within sustainable communities as the local population grows as more people move here for employment and the good quality of life in East Hertfordshire. We need to ask the question ‘Where will our children live?’,
  • The impact of climate change with higher levels of rainfall in shorter periods leading to flooding (central Hertford particularly) but other areas also. Summers will become hotter and longer. This will cause problems for older and other vulnerable people not used to the heat; with a knock on impact on health and social services
  • Transport capacity as more people move away from London but continue to commute to work in the centre.