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Clacton: Hundreds protest at closure of coastal maternity units

PUBLISHED: 06:00 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:42 29 April 2014

People gathered outside Clacton Town Hall to protest and march against the closure of the maternity units in Clacton  and Harwich.

People gathered outside Clacton Town Hall to protest and march against the closure of the maternity units in Clacton and Harwich.

Sarah Lucy brown

Two marches protesting about the closure of two coastal maternity units took place over the weekend.

The rallies saw hundreds of people walking against Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust’s decision to temporarily close the birthing units in both Clacton and Harwich last month due to a shortage of midwives at its central unit in Colchester.

The board of directors has said it will review the decision at its meeting in June but has re-iterated the closure is only temporary and was made following clinical advice.

The first demonstration, organised by Tendring district councillor Danny Mayzes, saw people walk from the Martello Bay car park to Clacton Hospital on Saturday.

The Rush Green ward councillor said: “The march was supported by Douglas Carswell MP, local residents including mums-to-be as well as several councillors from a cross party and independent spectrum. This very much proves that Tendring is fighting this not as a political issue, but a community one.

“Everybody involved today turned up because we are fed up of our services being treated like dispensable toys and our message back to CHUFT is this:

“We will not sit back and allow these closures to happen. We will not be treated like Colchester’s junior partner. We will not allow CHUFT to take its own disorganisation out on our services because it cannot manage itself efficiently, and we will continue to fight the closures until CHUFT takes the sensible decision of reopening the units as fully staffed and fully supported midwife led facilities.”

Yesterday’s walk saw people march from Clacton Town Hall to the town square.

Tim Young, Labour parliamentary candidate for Clacton who organised the Sunday march, said it was hoped the protests would prompt Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust to reconsider its decision and restore full maternity services.

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