MP in calls for Newark hospital inquiry

An MP has joined calls for an independent inquiry into planned changes to Newark Hospital.

Campaigners are opposing a move to turn the hospital's emergency department into a minor injuries facility.

But health bosses insist they have listened to people's concerns and say the move, planned for April, will save lives.

The town's Conservative MP Patrick Mercer is due to meet the Health Secretary next week.

He said: "I don't feel that the consultation has been properly conducted.

"I'm not sure that the number of respondents was really accurate and I'm not sure that the net was thrown wide enough."

Previous action against the plans has included a 5,000-name petition and human chain around the hospital.

'Last-ditch stand'

Local councillors are also lobbying for a review.

Brendan Haigh, a Liberal Democrat councillor on Newark and Sherwood District Council said: "It's a last-ditch stand, if you like. We just hope that we might be successful if not in whole at least in part."

NHS Nottinghamshire has insisted its consultation was done well.

Health bosses have said the market town is not big enough to justify a modern accident and emergency unit with the infrastructure modern standards demand.

Some local GPs stressed that taking the most seriously ill patients to bigger, more specialised centres would save lives.

Dr Mark Jefford of the Fountain Medical Centre in Newark said: "They're actually better off being scooped up and taken to one of these bigger centres immediately, rather than waiting at a small hospital first."

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