Campaigners launch health petition

CAMPAIGNERS fearing cuts to health services took to the streets with a re-launched petition in Tendring at the weekend. There are concerns in the area that residents will miss out on vital health services due to a lack of funding and centralisation of services.

CAMPAIGNERS fearing cuts to health services took to the streets with a re-launched petition in Tendring at the weekend.

There are concerns in the area that residents will miss out on vital health services due to a lack of funding and centralisation of services.

The East of England Strategic Health Authority is currently reviewing acute services with Colchester General Hospital and the two coastal hospitals in Clacton and Harwich under the spotlight.

And some people in Clacton believe the town's district hospital could be incorporated into Colchester, leaving pensioners with the prospect of long bus journeys for simple appointments.

And once again the future of the maternity unit in Harwich has been thrown into doubt with talk of it being closed.

In Clacton town centre on Saturday Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP for Harwich, joined campaigners to collect signatures for a petition calling the hospital to “stay with the needs of the community and for decision makers to listen to the local people.”

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Stephen Mayzes, leader of Tendring Youth Council, which was helping to collect names, said he was delighted with the response.

He said in just four hours 1,128 signatures had now been collected, at a rate of nearly five each minute.

“It went really, really well. It would be a massive blow to the town if the hospital closed - so many people rely on the services it provides.

“It creates jobs for a lot of people and it is a community in its self where the staff have a good relationship with the patients,” he said.

Mr Mayzes said old people especially would suffer from having to get a bus to Colchester for simple 10-minute appointments should it close.

The East of England Strategic Healthcare Authority confirmed last month that it could not rule out closure or downgrading of any of 19 hospitals in the region currently under review.

And this week will see Colchester and Tendring primary care trusts merged into one - the North East Essex Primary Care Trust.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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