A leading Labour councillor says Heanor Memorial Hospital bosses have assured him the site will not be closed permanently after a series of meetings.
Labour borough councillor and chairman of the No to Closing Heanor Hospital group Paul Jones, along with Kevin Gillott, Labour parliamentary candidate for Amber Valley, took up the issue of the future of the Ilkeston Road site with Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (SDCCG) in a series of meeting last week, it has been revealed.
Stories about the future of the hospital have been circulating since asbestos was found there in September forcing it to close. Hospital authorities have organised a public meeting on Thursday, (January 30) at Heanor Town Hall between 7.30pm and 9pm to listen to local residents.
Following the meetings last week Cllr Jones said: “It’s reassuring that health chiefs are talking to local community representatives about this issue because the future of the hospital is important to all of us.
“By making it clear that they have no plans to permanently close the site and that they want to listen to the views of local people they contradicted some of the scare stories that are being circulated about the hospitals future.
“But just as we’ve seen Tory budget cuts put Heanor Fire Station at risk, I am worried that further cuts to NHS spending could change things and threaten plans to reopen the hospital.
“This is a facility which is valued by the local community and withdrawal of health services from the site is not an option “
Also commenting on the meeting, Derbyshire Cllr Gilott, said: “Closing the hospital and selling the site off isn’t an option. As unwelcome as the discovery of asbestos is, I’m pleased that rather than talking about permanent closure the SDCCG see the current situation as an opportunity to talk to the local community about modernising the hospital and about the services people want in Heanor. I’ll certainly be campaigning to make sure that happens, Heanor deserves the very best, and I’d urge people to express their views about what they want to see happen next.”
Last week Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills launched a petition to see the hospital kept open.
Head to www.nigelmillsmp.com/heanorhospital to sign it.