Campaigners continue fight

The demonstration.
The demonstration.

Campaigners braved the rain on Saturday as the fight to reopen 12 beds at Rothbury Community Hospital continues.

There was a strong turnout at a demonstration against the controversial closure of the inpatient ward.

Protesters – many carrying placards – marched from the Haugh car park to the hospital to make their feelings clear – ‘Save our beds!’

The future of the inpatient ward is in the hands of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, after Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee referred the matter to him in October.

A month before, the joint executive board of the Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) voted unanimously in favour of permanently closing the facility and shaping the existing services around a Health and Wellbeing Centre at the hospital.

The beds were shut in September 2016 – at first temporarily – due to low usage, according to the NHS.

The closure sparked dismay in the community and a campaign to reopen the beds has been running ever since.

Katie Scott, coordinator of the Save Rothbury Hospital group, made an impassioned speech at the rally.

She said that closing the ward is not in the best interests of the population and would go on causing heartache and despair for generations to come. She urged Mr Hunt to refer the case to the Independent Review Panel.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan also spoke at the demonstration, saying she supported the campaign and would continue pushing the cause at Westminster.