BUSINESSES across Ryedale have got behind our Don’t Cut the Care campaign this week as readers also continue to show their support for Malton Hospital.

Petitions are available throughout Norton with more to be distributed to Malton, Pickering, Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside this week.

The appeal was launched by the Gazette & Herald and Coun Lindsay Burr (LibDem) after it was announced that the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit are to be reduced.

Proposals are in place to cut the opening hours from 8am-9.30pm, seven days a week, to just 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

“We have had a fantastic response from the business community who have been fully supportive of the campaign and agreed to display petitions,” Coun Burr said.

“I am so pleased that people from across Ryedale are joining the fight.”

Parish councillor John Garbutt and his wife, Gill, who have a business in Thornton-le-Dale, said they were supporting the campaign.

“It is important that people in Thornton-le-Dale have the opportunity to sign the petitions,” Gill said “We have all to do what we can to save this vital community resource.”

Darren Rushworth, owner of The Derwent Arms in Norton, said: “It’s really ridiculous to cut the opening hours at this minor injuries unit.

“We need this service even more now as our towns are expanding with new homes going up everywhere. It really is short-sighted to even think about cuts.”

Jim Butler, owner of JR Services Kirkbymoorside, said that he was concerned about people who played sport in the evenings and over the weekend in Ryedale.

“I really can’t believe they are even contemplating cuts, let alone actually doing it,” he added.

“The unit is of utmost importance for all Ryedale residents – don’t cut the hours.”

Sharon Hornby, of Something for the Weekend in Pickering, said it was vitally important that the unit remained open for the sake of our community, otherwise people would have to travel at least half an hour to the nearest hospital “I know people who work at the hospital who provide the highest care and I urge Ryedale residents to show a united front to stop the reduction of hours at this vital resource,” she added.

Sally Bulmer, of Bulmer’s Lettings in Malton, said: “I am supporting this campaign as Malton Hospital is a great asset to the town and its community and provides an excellent service. We lost the maternity unit, we cannot keep losing more.”

The Norton business who have petition forms to sign are:

Norton Video Centre, Norton Hardware, Beechams Pharmacy, Goodys, Main Bookmakers, Cutting Room, Stuart Stead’s fruit and veg shop, Tube Tanning Station, Escape hairdressers, Flix hairdressers, MA Hadfield Saddlers, Corks and Cans, Star Fast Food, The Union, Ryedale Cash Registers, Kevin’s Hairdressers, Trophy and Print, Norton Aquaria, Robsons Motor Services, Tyke petrol station, Derwent Swimming Pool.