Hospital campaigners plan London march

CAMPAIGNERS are set to march on Westminster in a bid to lobby Government officials over proposed cuts to Suffolk's crisis-hit health service.Protesters from across the county will join thousands of others from throughout the UK in a rally organised by Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together (Chant).

CAMPAIGNERS are set to march on Westminster in a bid to lobby Government officials over proposed cuts to Suffolk's crisis-hit health service.

Protesters from across the county will join thousands of others from throughout the UK in a rally organised by Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together (Chant).

The demonstration, which will take place in London on March 28, aims to highlight the continued threat of reductions and closures faced by community hospitals as primary care trusts (PCTs) struggle to cope with crippling debts.

Health bosses in the east and west of the county have proposed a huge shake-up of Suffolk's current system which includes the closure of the Bartlet Hospital in Felixstowe, Hartismere Hospital in Eye and the Walnuttree and St Leonard's hospitals in Sudbury as well as axing beds at Aldeburgh and Newmarket.


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Roy Gray, from the Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group, said: “We will certainly have a coachload going from here I imagine we'll also be going down with Aldeburgh and Hartismere.

“It's very important that we get as many people as we can to go and I would urge anyone that wants to get involved to get in touch with me or one of my colleagues.

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“The idea is to march on Westminster and then lobby your local MP - the more people that we get, not just from Suffolk Coastal but from the west of the county as well, the better.

“It's very important that the plans put forward by the PCTs are rejected because they are cutting valuable services to community.”

The march follows a similar rally in November when health workers from all over Suffolk travelled to the capital to join a major protest organised by their union, Unison.

Graham Stuart, chairman of Chant, said: “We urge all supporters of community hospitals, whether threatened or not, to come to Westminster to demonstrate the collective strength of feeling for their preservation and development.

“The White Paper appeared encouraging in its support for community hospitals but many remain under the immediate threat of closure or reductions in services. PCTs have not been absolved of the need to balance their year-end budgets and this remains the major factor behind proposed and recently announced closures.”

Anyone who is interested in joining the march and would like to book a place on the bus should call Mr Gray on 01394 285827 or Peter Mellor on 01394 277754.

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