Protesters ‘Unite’ to defend hospital

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More than 100 concerned patients and members of staff have attended a meeting to discuss the future of Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital.

The event was organised by the union Unite after fears over the future of the facility in Euxton Lane were raised by concerned members.

St Joseph’s Club was packed out on Friday evening as the parties turned out to hear presentations from the town’s MP Lindsay Hoyle, Chorley Trades Council and representatives from Unite.

Steve Turner, branch secretary for the union, said: “The meeting went really well and we had a good turn out which shows the level of concern in the town for the future of the hospital.

“The audience was made up of a real mix of people who use the facility and members of staff who are concerned about the way the hospital is heading. A lot of questions were asked on the evening and there was a real strength of feeling that people are determined to fight any proposed cuts.

“We have been reassured that the hospital will not close, but if that is the case then we want to ensure that services are protected.

“The staff are on the frontline and they are seeing more and more signs of the cuts - including members of staff leaving and not being replaced, and we want to ensure the future of Chorley hospital is safe.”

Mr Turner said that the union is now awaiting the result of the Health and Social Care Bill which will outline Government NHS reforms.

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle added: “I’m fully committed to protecting Chorley hospital and the services provided against the savage cuts being imposed by the Tory-led government.

“I was born at Chorley hospital and having lived here all my life I have always valued the first class service provided by a team of professional and dedicated staff.

“In the past we have fought hard to both protect existing services and provide new facilities and treatment at our hospital.

“We have seen the hospital grow and this is something I am very proud of.

“The scale of the cuts – in the region of £50m – poses a real threat to its future and while we do not know the details of what services will be affected it is important that we remain steadfast in our opposition to the government’s cuts agenda.”

Karen Partington, Chief Executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While there is no doubt the NHS nationally is facing a challenging time, I would like to reassure local patients and staff that there are no plans to close Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

“We remain committed to providing the highest standards of care at both hospital sites.”