Sunday, December 10, 2006

5000 take part in "Save Our Services" march

The "Save Our Services" march was a massive success: it was initially estimated by the police that about 4,000 people attended to support local hospitals, and this figure was quoted in the rally at the end. Subsequently the police revised their estimate upward to about 5,000. The march had support across the community from Conservative and Labour politicians to Help the Aged, from Trade Unions in the NHS and at Sellafield to the Rugby Club, the motorcycle club, and everyone you could imagine.

People also came from throughout West Cumbria: I recognised people there from St Bees to Lamplugh and from Whitehaven through Egremont, Seascale and down to Millom, and I know there were members of the local communities in just about every other part of West Cumbria.

All of them came to send the Strategic Health Authority and Patricia Hewitt the message that we want to defend our hospital services.

As one speaker put it, what price can you put on the pain of an expectant mother with complications who has to travel forty to sixty miles over some of the worst roads in the country to Carlisle or Barrow if we did not have a consultant-led maternity unit in West Cumbria ?

It's been suggested to me that this was the biggest demonstration that Whitehaven has ever seen. The community is united to defend our hospitals. And we will keep up the pressure.


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