‘Save our NHS!’ – Huddersfield, Banbury, Stafford and Grantham join NHS campaigners in London yesterday

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Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaigners taking part in yesterday’s protest demanding the reopening of their 24-hour A&E
Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital campaigners taking part in yesterday’s protest demanding the reopening of their 24-hour A&E

‘ALL the unions should take part in a Day of Action for the NHS,’ Steve Mathan of Hands Off HRI told News Line yesterday.

Over 150 campaigners fighting to save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) A&E had joined others from Banbury, Stafford and Grantham in descending on London to hand in petitions to Downing Street and protest outside the Department of Health.

They were welcomed in Trafalgar Square by London campaign groups before marching to Downing Street and Richmond House chanting: ‘Jeremy Hunt hear us say, NHS is here to stay!’ and ‘One fight – we are all united!’

Mathan added: ‘The junior doctors will have to strike again and other unions should come out with them and not leave doctors to fight alone.’

Jackie Grunsell of Hands Off HRI said: ‘It’s an important national campaign to save the NHS. There needs to be a national demonstration and a day of industrial action as well.

‘Eventually, there’ll have to be occupations.’

Jim Twiss of Support Stafford Hospital, said: ‘We’ve lost the 24-hour A&E, the children’s A&E, the consultant-led maternity and paediatrics as well. It’s virtually just a field hospital now! We’re fighting to get them re-opened.’ He added: ‘We need the unions to come out and support us. We need unions to support occupations. They should have taken action with the junior doctors and must do when the doctors strike again.’

Janie Lee of Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital said: ‘We are fighting night-time cuts of our A&E. Grantham A&E is now shut from 6.30pm to 8.30 in the morning, seven days a week. It was a 24-hour A&E before and it needs to come back to that. United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust have taken our doctors to Lincoln and Boston. They are putting patient safety at risk.’

Chair of Keep Horton General Hospital in Banbury, Keith Strangwood warned against the government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs).