Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that the imminent closure of the Lincoln Walk-In-Centre and refusal to reopen Grantham A&E overnight must be having an impact on already stretched hospital departments.
The Leader of the Opposition visited Lincoln on Thursday, January 18 to meet East Midlands Ambulance Service workers and staff working inside the A&E department at Lincoln County Hospital.
He was also quizzed by Lincolnshire Reporter on whether the closures were having an impact on A&E pressures in the county.
NHS bosses have already agreed to close the Lincoln Walk-In-Centre at the end of the winter period, despite vociferous objections from thousands of residents, with Grantham A&E controversially remaining closed between 6.30pm and 8am.
Jeremy Corbyn said: “Well on the Grantham issue, during the by-election in Sleaford and North Hykeham, we raised the issue then of the loss of 24-hour A&E facilities there, and obviously it impacts here.
“Closing the walk-in-centre must have an impact.
“A walk-in-centre as I know from my own local hospital, an ambulatory care centre, and an urgent care centre on the same site as an A&E department makes an awful big difference because it reduces the pressure.”
Lincoln MP Karen Lee echoed her party leader’s sentiments.
She added: “I’m opposed to the closure of the walk-in-centre.
“94% of people didn’t want it to close and yet it’s still going to close.
“I’ve been assured that there will be more GP appointments but I’d like to know that that was in place before any closure happened.
“At the moment, I’m not convinced of that.”
Both the Lincoln MP and Labour leader were also unimpressed by Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles’ proposals to rebrand National Insurance as National Health Insurance, to provide the NHS with some long-term security of funding.
Indeed, Karen Lee rubbished the plans, describing them as “privatisation by the back door”.
Jeremy Corbyn added: “What we would consider is raise corporate levels of taxation in order to fund the NHS properly.
“Our plan is £37 billion for the NHS and £8 billion for social care.”