A public consultation on the future of Fenland’s minor injuries units was condemned as a “shambles” tonight after dozens of people were denied entry to a meeting in Wisbech.
Health officials have apologised after scores of residents were turned away from the meeting at the Rosmini Centre because of a lack of space.
A further meeting will take place in the town next month.
But the assurance did little to reduce the anger of those left standing outside the hall as the meeting took place.
Paul Clapp, one of the town’s Cambridgeshire county councillors, said: “It’s an absolute shambles.”
And Kathy Dougal, secretary of the North East Cambridgeshire constituency Labour party, described the events as “shameful.”
Around 100 people, including MP Stephen Barclay, did manage to get inside the building to take part in the meeting, which was called as part of an ongoing review of minor injuries units in Wisbech, Doddington and Ely by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough clinical commissioning group (CCG).
Some residents who did not get in claimed people were being turned away before the scheduled 6.30pm start.
But a CCG spokesman insisted they had no choice but to restrict numbers.
She said: “It’s difficult to predict how many people would come here. We’re really sorry we’ve had to turn people away because of health and safety.”
She added that details of all the people who tried to get into the meeting had been recorded and they would be notified of future events.
A further meeting has also been arranged to take place at the Queen Mary Centre on Tuesday, September 20, from 6.30 to 8pm.
But several of those left outside questioned the decision to hold the event at such a small venue, with some suggesting it showed the fate of the unit was already a “done deal.”
One of them, Jean Wood, said the event should have been cancelled altogether and rearranged for a more suitable venue.
She said: “I think they’ve got the people in there who are likely to nod and agree.”
Edward Otter said: “Perhaps they’re trying to demonstrate the queues there will be at A&E if they close these places.”
And Mr Clapp added; “The CCG did not think the people of Wisbech would turn out in such force to show their anger that their hospital may be losing services that we can’t afford.”
But the CCG insists that no decisions have yet been made on the future of any of the units.
The spokesman added: “We are a long way from putting any options forward for public consultation.”