Chorley A&E campaigners call for locals to support national NHS rally this weekend

Campaigners calling for the 24-hour reopening of Chorley A&E say they want to use their next weekly gathering at the gates of the hospital to send “a clear message” to the new health secretary about the future of the NHS.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 10:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 10:46 am

The group had already been planning to turn the demonstration into a local outpost of rallies taking place across the country this weekend to mark the 73rd anniversary of the health service.

With Sajid Javid having now taken over at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) after Matt Hancock’s departure following his breach of social distancing rules, the Protect Chorley and South Ribble Hospital Campaign says it wants to spell out what it claims are “threats to the existence” of the NHS

It is inviting people to join the socially-distanced event – the 273rd week of protest at the Euxton Lane site – on Saturday from 10am.

Campaigners will gather - socially-distanced - at the gates of Chorley Hospital as part of a nationwide series of rallies image:  Protect Chorley and South Ribble Hospital Campaign)
Campaigners will gather - socially-distanced - at the gates of Chorley Hospital as part of a nationwide series of rallies image: Protect Chorley and South Ribble Hospital Campaign)

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Organiser Jenny Hurley fears that integrated care systems – regionally-focused partnerships of health and social care organisations, like the one covering Lancashire and South Cumbria – will oversee services being cut to the extent where “enormous gaps” are created, while she warned that proposed forthcoming legislation will allow “private providers to take services without accountability”.

She also condemned the one percent pay rise handed to NHS staff earlier this year after ”the most gruelling 18 months, putting their lives on the line”.

“From porters, to cleaners and catering staff to clinical staff – they need you now,” Ms. Hurley said.

“Did you clap them when they put themselves on the front line to keep us safe? They need you to show you meant those claps.”

The campaign group is calling for a 15 percent pay rise for health service workers.

A DHSC spokesperson said of the event: “We are incredibly grateful to all our NHS staff who have worked tirelessly every day, including throughout the pandemic – and we continue to support them in every way we can.

“We know from speaking to the NHS and local government that strong and positive working relationships through the integrated care systems are important in bringing together the delivery of health services, social care and public health advice so local patients receive the best care possible.

“Integrated care boards will be NHS bodies, run by, and accountable to, the NHS and any decision about the use of the private sector is for NHS commissioners. We are clear that patients should be able to access the best possible treatments and services based on quality and delivering the best possible outcomes.”

It was Mr. Hancock’s intervention back in February that ultimately led to a long-planned local consultation into the future of Chorley A&E being abandoned. That will now be considered as part of Lancashire’s new hospitals programme, which is seeking to secure the cash needed to create one or two new facilities to replace the Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The group had already been planning to turn the demonstration into a local outpost of rallies taking place across the country this weekend to mark the 73rd anniversary of the health service.

With Sajid Javid having now taken over at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) after Matt Hancock’s departure following his breach of social distancing rules, the Protect Chorley and South Ribble Hospital Campaign says it wants to spell out what it claims are “threats to the existence” of the NHS.

It is inviting people to join the socially-distanced event – the 273rd week of protest at the Euxton Lane site – on Saturday from 10am.

Organiser Jenny Hurley fears that integrated care systems – regionally-focused partnerships of health and social care organisations, like the one covering Lancashire and South Cumbria – will oversee services being cut to the extent where “enormous gaps” are created, while she warned that proposed forthcoming legislation will allow “private providers to take services without accountability”.

She also condemned the one percent pay rise handed to NHS staff earlier this year after ”the most gruelling 18 months, putting their lives on the line”.

“From porters, to cleaners and catering staff to clinical staff – they need you now,” Ms. Hurley said.

“Did you clap them when they put themselves on the front line to keep us safe? They need you to show you meant those claps.”

The campaign group is calling for a 15 percent pay rise for health service workers.

A DHSC spokesperson said of the event: “We are incredibly grateful to all our NHS staff who have worked tirelessly every day, including throughout the pandemic – and we continue to support them in every way we can.

“We know from speaking to the NHS and local government that strong and positive working relationships through the integrated care systems are important in bringing together the delivery of health services, social care and public health advice so local patients receive the best care possible.

“Integrated care boards will be NHS bodies, run by, and accountable to, the NHS and any decision about the use of the private sector is for NHS commissioners. We are clear that patients should be able to access the best possible treatments and services based on quality and delivering the best possible outcomes.”

It was Mr. Hancock’s intervention back in February that ultimately led to a long-planned local consultation into the future of Chorley A&E being abandoned. That will now be considered as part of Lancashire’s new hospitals programme, which is seeking to secure the cash needed to create one or two new facilities to replace the Royal Preston Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.