A SURVEY has revealed almost unanimous support to reinstate longer opening hours at Purley War Memorial Hospital.
Residents' associations across the south of Croydon have been campaigning to have urgent care centre (UCC) status returned to Purley hospital, after it was downgraded to a minor injury clinic in May.
This also resulted in the operating hours being cut, from 8am-8pm to 2pm-8pm.
Now, a survey, completed by 1,163 residents living within two miles of the hospital, has found that 1,144 of those responding agreed that UCC status and longer hours should be brought back.
The survey, organised by Conservative Parliamentary candidate Chris Philp, also revealed that some didn't even realise the UCC had even been there.
"I was completely unaware that Purley even had an urgent care centre prior to visiting and I only live in Coulsdon," said one resident.
Of those respondents who had used the urgent care services, only 1.4 per cent were unhappy with their treatment when the UCC was open, compared to more than 25 per cent unhappiness rate among users of the minor injury clinic.
One response said: "Having taken a child before and being able to have an X-ray, this time was a nightmare as after paying for parking, struggling in with a teenager who couldn't walk, we were then sent to CUH for an x-ray."
The survey was conducted by Mr Philp, who is standing in Croydon South next May, and sent to 3,000 residents from Purley, Kenley, Coulsdon and Sanderstead.
He said: "It's really important that the service level gets restored. There is enormously strong public feeling on the topic."
But Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) maintains the centre was not a UCC in the first place, and that they have simply removed the minor illness element – for example coughs, colds and headaches – from the previous minor injuries and minor illness service.
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, assistant clinical chairman at Croydon CCG, said: "Surely it is right that people with minor ailments – like coughs and colds – are treated by a pharmacist or treat themselves at home?
"In addition, the service is now led by GPs rather than nurses, so it can now see a wider range of patients including children under 12 months old."
However, offering some hope to opponents, Dr Fernandes added: "We have committed to promote the service, and we will review the service every three months with local residents' associations.
"If the demand for the service is there, then it would be in everyone's interests to extend the opening hours."