30th January 1981
Town Loses Hospital Battle:
Wallasey has lost its fight to keep a general hospital in the town when Arrowe Park opens in 1982. That news yesterday “bitterly disappointed” the town’s MP and “infuriated” hospital campaigners.
The decision came despite a recommendation from Health Minister, Dr. Gerald Vaughan, who visited the town last year, that Wallasey’s 93,000 people needed their own general hospital.
When Arrowe Park opens all Wallasey’s hospital apart from Highfield in Mill Lane, will be phased out. Even Leasowe Hospital, which is the area’s main arthritic unit, is expected to be shut down.
Wallasey will, however, get more services than it originally expected. A minor injuries unit it to be set up in Mill Lane, and at least 140 beds will be retained.
These will include 50 beds for observation and recovery cases, in addition to a geriatric unit, out-patient clinic, X-ray facilities and ante-natal clinic.
All surgical facilities will be transferred to Arrow Park.
The news is the climax of years of protest by Wallasey Hospital campaigners, who feel Arrowe Park is too far from Wallasey for it to be a viable hospital for emergency patients, particularly heart-attack and road accident victims.
Wallasey MP. Mrs. Lynda Chalker, who is Under-Secretary of State for Social Services, was shaken by the news.
“I am obviously bitterly disappointed,” she said. “We have been forced to face the facts of medical opinion, the financial situation particularly in the Mersey Region, and the need to ensure the very highest standard of medical care.”
What will infuriate many people is the fact that Heswall Children’s Hospital is to be kept open, although this is in a unique position because it is run by the Liverpool Area Health Authority and not Wirral AHA.
Yesterday Coun. Jack Gershman, organiser of Wallasey’s “Save Our Hospitals” campaign, said the news was “very disturbing.”
“We are completely opposed to it and will use everything in our power to carry on fighting to the bitter end. It is in the Health Minister’s final decision, then it is more important than ever that we make representations to him again,” he said.
Private sources yesterday confirmed that the main opposition to Wallasey retaining its own general hospital has come from the medical profession.
Wallasey Hospital For Women (Cottage Hospital)
The two tragedies at Victoria Central Hospital, involving Mrs Leah Leadbetter and David Yates, have led many doctors to believe that surgery should take place in the advanced hospital at Arrowe Park.
There was also the question of getting doctors to staff a Wallasey Satellite Hospital. The Area Medical Committee was concerned that any resources provided in Wallasey would take away facilities from Arrowe Park.