Campaign begins to save hospital services

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A campaign group is urging people to ‘rise like lions’ to help protect the future of Chorley Hospital.

Representatives from Unite are leading a fight to safeguard services at Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital after fears were raised over sweeping cuts and the threat of

privatisation.

A public meeting has now been scheduled for July 12 at Chorley Town Hall and organiser Steve Turner is calling on Chorley residents to turn out en masse.

He said: “The baton to defend our hospital has been passed on to the people of Chorley once again.

“There is growing fears that services will be opened up to private companies who put profits before patient care.

“This in our opinion goes against the principle of the NHS and health care being free at the point of need.”

Mr Turner described how 7,000 people marched the streets of Chorley when plans were revealed to close the hospital and transfer services to the Royal Preston Hospital in the 1970s.

He added: “We don’t believe that the hospital will close this time around, but there is a lot of uncertainty around it’s future and what the services will be provided from there in the years to come.

“Chorley is a growing town with an increasing population – we need our hospital more than ever.

“We firmly believe that if the public of our town once again rise like lions we can protect our hospital service.”

Mr Turner said he feared the accident and emergency unit could be downgraded.

Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to assure people in Chorley and in the wider community that we remain completely committed to Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, and have no plans nor intention to close it. This continued speculation creates unnecessary anxiety for our patients and staff. We have arranged to meet the group to discuss any concerns they have.”

The public meeting will be held at Chorley Town Hall on Friday, July 12, at 7pm.