Thanks for your e-mail and for all you and others have been doing to try and save the Sidwell St Walk-In Centre. it is particularly galling for me, as I was Health Minister when the Labour government set up the network of Walk-In Centres across England. I am afraid that most of them were closed by the Coalition government and I suspect you are right when you say this is being directed from the centre, and now the Tories are governing alone, is likely to be accelerated.
I have made several visits, have written several letters to and have several meetings with the CCG since the idea of closing the centre was first mooted two years ago. I will seek a further meeting but I am not confident the outcome will be any different, not least, given the serious financial crisis facing Devon NHS. I will also seek to raise this is Parliament.
A number of Labour members are involved in the campaign and I am copying this to the Chair of the local party, Matthew Vizard. You might want to engage Richard Westlake, who is the Labour councillor who chairs the Health Scrutiny Committee of the County Council. That is the body, under the Tories disasterous NHS ‘reforms’, that is supposed to provide the democratic oversight to local commissioning groups, but their powers are quite limited.
Finally, Labour has just suffered a terrible defeat in the General Election, although we did extremely well in Exeter. In the long term, the only thing that is going to save the NHS from the Tories is a Labour government. I would encourage you and everyone else involved in the campaign to join us and help us in that mission in the months and years to come.
With very best wishes
Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP