Demonstration planned as fight to save beds continues

Protestors at the NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group meeting about Rothbury Community Hospital at Morpeth Town Hall.' Picture by Jane Coltman

Campaigners fighting to reopen 12 beds at Rothbury Community Hospital are staging a demonstration this weekend.

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 previously, 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.

And this Saturday, objectors are holding a demonstration in the village. Protestors, encouraged to make and bring a placard, are invited to meet at the village’s Haugh car park at 10.30am and then walk up to the hospital for 11am.

A spokesman for the Save Rothbury Hospital campaign group said: “We need people’s support, so please do all you can to come along. The local demonstration coincides with the NHS Day of Action in Newcastle and MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan will be speaking, along with Katie Scott, the campaign coordinator.

“Local people will also be on hand with their stories of how the ward closure has affected them.

“We have yet to hear from Government on any decisions regarding the review.

“As a campaign group, we continue to attempt to get information on what is happening but various walls of silence have been encountered.

“It’s now 18 months since the beds at Rothbury Community Hospital were summarily suspended and several months since the CCG’s decision was announced on the permanent closure of the beds.

“Despite the partial victory in having the CCG’s decision challenged and subsequently referred to Government, it seems to us that the can is being kicked down the proverbial road, so it’s time to ensure that the issue is not lost from the public domain.”

Anyone needing a lift, email saverothburyhospital@gmx.com or call 01669 621772.

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