Response to Corby Urgent Care Centre crisis ‘woefully inadequate’, says MP

Corby's Urgent Care Centre.
Corby's Urgent Care Centre.

The MP for Corby says people have been let down by a poor quality of dialogue over the town’s urgent care centre crisis.

Residents fear the site could close in October after the only bidder for a new contract withdrew from the process.

General Election: Corby: Election Count, Lodge Park Sports Centre. 'Results announced 'Tom Pursglove re-elected as MP for Corby and East Northants'Friday June 9th 2017 NNL-170906-043715009

General Election: Corby: Election Count, Lodge Park Sports Centre. 'Results announced 'Tom Pursglove re-elected as MP for Corby and East Northants'Friday June 9th 2017 NNL-170906-043715009

The current operators, Lakeside+, say they will walk away because Corby CCG aren’t offering enough money to cover their costs.

MP Tom Pursglove says the community needs reassurance that it will stay open - but they simply aren’t getting it.

He said: “I am incredibly frustrated by the quality of dialogue that the CCG have been providing, not just to me as the local Member of Parliament but also to the wider community.

“I think what they need to do is provide immediate reassurance as to exactly what their plans are in relation to the urgent care centre as of September 30, and I’ve set out some really clear tests for that.

“The facility must remain open after September 30. The quality of service must continue to be provided.

“We’ve become accustomed to a very high quality of service, it’s class-leading, it’s the envy of other parts of the country.

“Finally what I want to see is further improvements mades to it because you can always improve these sorts of facilities.

“They are my tests and at the moment, I’m afraid to say, that the CCG’s response to the enquiries I’ve made have been woefully inadequate and I think local people want reassurance that this service is guaranteed for the future.”

Corby CCG said they had a contingency plan in place earlier this year when Lakeside+ originally threatened to walk away.

The commissioners are yet to commit to the same plan for October, but Mr Pursglove says they must do so at a minumum.

He said: “When Lakeside+ threatened to walk away at the end of March I was told categorically in a meeting that the CCG had contingency plans that they could put in place and there would be no disruption to the service.

“We’ve seen no detail of that.

“I’ve pressed for that information and I think we need it because as a very minimum we would want those contingency plans to come into force to keep the service open.

“I think what needs to happen now is that the CCG should sit down with Lakeside+, talk about some of the concerns that they have got and see if we can find a way forward.

“It makes sense for everyone to come around the table and have these discussions.”

If the urgent care centre does close, many people who use it would have to travel to Kettering General Hospital - something Mr Pursglove says would be ‘a disaster’.

He added: “This is such a no-brainer for me.

“We all know the pressure it relieves on Kettering General Hospital and the A&E department, and the challenges the hospital has been facing in recent months have been well documented.

“I am encouraged that improvement is being made there but what would be a retrograde step is that the enormous volume of people who go to Corby Urgent Care Centre end up going to KGH which will place additional strain on them and it simply won’t cope with.

“The closure of the urgent care centre would be a disaster.”

Mr Pursglove also hit back at criticism of his part in trying to find a solution, saying party politics must be put aside.

He said: “I think it’s really disappointing when people are thoroughly disingenous about the work that any Member of Parliament does on a local level.

“Every local Member of Parliament, regardless of party label, tries to do their best when it comes to their constituency.

“You’re elected by local people to serve local people and I will always put my heart and soul into getting out there and finding out what the issues are and campaigning hard on them.

“I was staggered, absolutely staggered, when it was suggested that I’d not been proactive on this issue.

“I don’t think it’s helpful when people deliberately try and pursue a political agenda when you’ve got an issue as serious of this.

“It goes above party politics. What we all want is the best possible provision for our residents regardless of whether we are Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour or UKIP.

“None of that matters.”

A spokesman for NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group said: “As has been reported previously, the contract between the commissioners (NHS Corby Clinical Commissioning Group) and Lakeside +, the current provider of services at the Urgent Care Centre, expires on September 30, 2017.

“In order to ensure service continuity and to safeguard the future of the centre, the commissioners ran a competitive procurement inviting bids to continue the service for a further 12 months.

“Unfortunately, the only bidder in the process formally withdrew their bid and so the process has failed to generate any bidder willing to continue to provide the service.

“In light of these developments, the commissioners will be considering what options exist for the Corby Urgent Care Centre.”