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The centre at the centre of a spat

Former High Peak MP Ruth George has questioned a claim by her successor Robert Largan about New Mills Walk-in Centre.

Mr Largan of the Conservative Party, who was elected with a majority of 590 votes ahead of Mrs George of the Labour Party last week, tweeted on Saturday: "I got bitten by a dog on the campaign trail so just been to New Mills Walk-In Centre to have it looked at. Seen quickly & looked after by the brilliant NHS staff. And no, despite the scaremongering put out by Labour in the election, the walk-in centre is staying open!" 

In a further statement to the Chronicle, Mr Largan said: "During the campaign Labour misled and unnecessarily worried staff and patients by making false claims about vital NHS services in Buxton and New Mills being under threat of closure, when the truth is the complete opposite as they are not under any threat of closure what so ever.

"Having spoken to Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust they confirmed these facilities are not closing and went as far as insisting Mrs George refrain from making the claims by removing references to any closures from her website." 

He also pointed out comments during the election campaign made by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who said: "The truth about our fantastic NHS in High Peak, New Mills and Buxton is that far from closing services, we now have almost a hundred more doctors and almost a hundred more nurses at Chesterfield Royal Hospital than in 2010.

"By May 2017, 94 per cent of General Practices in the North Derbyshire CCG area rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. Added to this, NHS Derby and Derbyshire CCG will this year receive a total of £1,452.7 million cash injection for the NHS to ensure frontline services have the funding they need, amounting to an increase of 5.43 per cent on last year." 

However, Mrs George, who has vowed to continue to campaign for local people across High Peak although no longer a Member of Parliament, issued a statement refuting Mr Largan's claims. 

It read: "I recently launched a petition to protect both New Mills Walk-In Centre and Buxton’s Minor Injuries Unit.

“This is in light of the current review of all walk-in centres and Minor Injuries as to whether they will become Urgent Treatment Centres, open 12 hours a day, primarily for bookable appointments via 111, or a different provision, without any walk-in facility.

“No decision has been announced by Derbyshire Clinical Commissioners whether New Mills Walk-in Centre will become an Urgent Treatment Centre or not.

“According to NHS England, 'services that will not meet the new standards may become an alternative new community service; this may be a GP access hub'.

"A GP Access Hub has no walk-in facility such as that valued by the community in New Mills and a wide surrounding area.

“If Robert Largan has information that New Mills Walk-in Centre is becoming an Urgent Treatment Centre, he must make this information public. If not, he should not give false assurances and claim that the Labour Party are scaremongering.

“Whilst the review of New Mills Walk-In Centre continues, it is right that local people have the opportunity to have their say on this facility that they value so much, and this is what I and the Labour Party have been doing.

“Thousands of local people have signed the petition to protect both New Mills Walk-In Centre and Buxton’s Minor Injuries Unit and we will be presenting it to Derbyshire Clinical Commissioners shortly in order for it to be taken into account in their review.”

In response to Mr Largan's further statement, Mrs George added: “It’s disappointing that Mr Largan continues to misrepresent what I say - I have not said the services were under threat of closure, but I have said they needed protecting during the ongoing  review and I’ve given local people the chance to make their voices heard to try to prevent any downgrading of the facilities.

“Glossop residents will be further concerned by the Secretary of State’s claim that they have nothing to worry about over their most accessible walk-in centre because there will be some more staff at Chesterfield Hospital.  

“This just shows the Conservatives’ complete lack of understanding of the need for local health services and it’s disappointing that we now have an MP who isn’t prepared to stand up to the government over this.”

The walk-in centre at New Mills Clinic on Hyde Bank Road, opposite Sett Valley Medical Centre's New Mills surgery, is also used by many people in Glossop. 

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