Councillors frustrated by lack of services in rural Northumberland

Parish councillors in Seahouses have bemoaned the lack of services in rural areas.

Saturday, 7th September 2019, 9:00 am
Updated Sunday, 8th September 2019, 6:03 pm

The issue was discussed at a meeting of North Sunderland Parish Council.

Parish council deputy chairman David Shiel complained that Seahouses health centre is only open three-and-a-half days a week.

“We need it up to five days a week,” he said. “Belford has it, why shouldn’t we?”

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Fellow councillor Mick McCarthy said he would raise the issue at the inaugural meeting of a new organisation set up by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust to look at rural healthcare issues.

“One of the problems is the challenge of GP recruitment in rural areas,” he said. “Five days a week is what we should be aiming for but if you haven’t got the GPs in the first place it’s difficult.

“The point David raises about rural healthcare is a real issue. We tend to have a health service focused on the cities and conurbations rather than rural areas.”

Parish councillor Sylvia Hillan raised the issue of prescriptions.

“When you order a prescription you have to wait two days to get it,” she said. “The doctors is closed on a Wednesday but if you order a prescription on Thursday the chemist doesn’t get a delivery on Saturday so you have to wait until Monday.”

She also spoke about the limited public transport when trying to access clinics in Alnwick and Berwick.

“If you haven’t got a car it’s very difficult,” she said. “The buses are every two hours and it’s not easy to fit in with hospital appointments.”