Monday, 30 November 2015

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Protesters to march to save Cumbrian hospital's services

An army of protesters is preparing to march around Whitehaven in a bid to save the town’s hospital services.

Siobhan Gearing photo
Siobhan Gearing

A provisional date of Sunday, July 6 has been set for those concerned about the future of the West Cumberland Hospital to make a stand.

The campaign was kick-started by mother-of-two Siobhan Gearing last month, who has worked around the clock to raise its profile.

And in just four weeks, the 26-year-old has gathered more than 6,500 signatures on both paper and online petitions and has held a number of meetings with interested parties.

She has met Copeland MP Jamie Reed, who she says is supportive of the campaign and has agreed to speak out about the importance of local services during next month’s “peaceful public demonstration.”

Mrs Gearing started her fight as she said her experience of the Hensingham hospital during a recent stay was fantastic and that it would be disastrous if services were moved to either Carlisle or Newcastle.

“People should be able to get the best treatment possible at the West Cumberland Hospital, rather than travelling to Carlisle or even Newcastle,” she said. “Travelling that far could mean the difference between life and death.”

A five-year-plan is currently being drawn up for health services in north Cumbria and could include significant changes. Health bosses say if they carry on spending at the current rate, there will be a £20m hole in north Cumbria’s health budget, on top of the £30m they are already trying to save.

The march will begin in Whitehaven’s Market Place, at 1.30pm, going through Lowther Street and finishing at Castle Park.

Mrs Gearing is currently waiting to hear back from the council regarding the road closure application before making the final arrangements.


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