Supporters of community hospitals from around the country are today attending the first National Community Hospitals Rally in London. Despite welcome recognition of the importance of the services provided by community hospitals in the recent Health White Paper, cuts and closures are continuing.
Over 300,000 people have already signed local petitions supporting their community hospitals and delegations from across England will be in attendance. The rally will be addressed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of CHANT, Graham Stuart and Boris Johnson MP, by Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, and by Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat Health spokesman. Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health, has also been invited to speak.
Commenting on the Rally, Boris Johnson MP said:
‘I am delighted so many people seem prepared to travel from all around the country to come to this event. Despite recent reassurances in the Health White Paper, many communities are seeing their local hospitals being wound down or closed – this Rally is proof that this is not what people want.
I only hope that when Patricia Hewitt glances out her window in the Commons and catches sight of the assembled throng that she take to heart their message, that these community hospitals are an absolutely vital and valued local resource and must not be closed merely in response to some end of year budgetary crunch. I will in addition keep my fingers firmly crossed the sun continues to shine!’
Notes to Editors:
CHANT is holding a national rally outside Parliament on March 28th from 1pm to 2pm to highlight the continued threat to more than 80 community hospitals and demand that action is taken by the Government.
CHANT is a cross-party group campaigning for community hospitals. It has Labour, Liberal Democrat, Independent and Conservative MPs and Peers as Patrons. Further information about CHANT, including details of the national rally to be held in London on March 28th, can be found on the CHANT website: