This was revealed by Jane Hawkard, Chief Officer of the East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), when she and colleagues Paula South and Quintina Davies, met with members of Driffield Town Council; Sandra Wilkinson and Gill Hara of the Alfred Bean League of Friends; ERYC councillor, Barbara Hall and Dr Nick Summerton of the Medical Centre last Friday.
During this meeting, Driffield Mayor, Cllr Mark Blakeston, presented the case for the retention of the Driffield MIU and the concerns regarding the consultation conducted by the CCG.
More than 10,000 people from Driffield and the surrounding area have made their voices heard by responding via letter or email to the campaign led by Driffield Town Council.
Following the announcement of the plans by the CCG to close all MIUs in the East Riding and replace them with urgent care centres, Driffield Town Council launched the campaign to save the well-used unit at the Alfred Bean Hospital, which has received an unprecedented response.
At Friday’s meeting, Driffield Town Council was assured that the comments and views of those who took part in the consultation will be taken into consideration and that they will “enrich the eventual decision”.
The CCG thanked the Town Council for conducting the exhaustive campaign and praised the level of professionalism involved in producing the reports and sheer number of responses. Town Clerk Claire Binnington said the general tone was that the closure of the Driffield MIU was not a done deal and that the Board would be willing to listen and added that the CCG had confirmed that the response received from Driffield and the surrounding villages was the largest they have received from any community throughout this process.
Claire said: “All we can do is take the assurances given at face value – that this all isn’t a done deal and that the sheer scale of the opposition to these plans to shut our MIU will have some impact upon the final decision. We may be naïve but this is all we can hope for now.
“The Town Council and all the organisations, as well as a number of individuals, have worked incredibly hard to produce what is acknowledged by the CCG themselves, as a very professional campaign.
“Although this has been a brilliant example of the community pulling together, from local organisations, councillors, our MP and the local press, I personally would like to take this opportunity to thank our Mayor, Cllr Mark Blakeston, who has produced the excellent concluding report and has co-ordinated the whole campaign and led from the front; Dr Nick Summerton of The Medical Centre, whose vast knowledge, expertise and experience of public health was invaluable and made our work credible; and Cllr Cath Scarlett for her hours and hours of painstaking analysis going through the 10,000 responses to produce the necessary data and reports.
“Without the contribution of these three people, the work simply would not have had the impact and credibility it so clearly has – our community owes them a great debt of thanks.
“In the end, no one will be able to look back and say we did not throw our best efforts at saving our beloved MIU. Thank you to every single person who took the time to say NO!
”Cllr Blakeston added: “I never doubted that the residents of Driffield would want to get behind the campaign to try and save our MIU but we knew we had to work hard to make it as simple as possible for people to do so.
“That’s why we engaged Royal Mail for distribution of letters directly to people’s doors, letters made available at local events and in stores, an online version on the Town Council website and publicity through the Driffield & Wolds Weekly and by use of social media. “Having presented the results to the CEO of the CCG last week, I can honestly say that there’s not much more we could have done.
“The campaign gained the full support of our MP, of local GPs, Councillors, Alfred Bean Hospital supporters, sports clubs leaders and of course residents of Driffield and the Wolds – so I think we had most bases well covered and my personal thanks go to all those involved.
“Let’s hope our efforts will make a difference to the CCG’s decision.
”The CCG Board will make the decision on Urgent Care and the MIUs on March 21st.
The letter outlining the key arguments for the retention of Driffield’s MIU and the concerns regarding the consultation process was handed to the CCG at Friday’s meeting and can be seen in full here!