6:00pm Sunday 27th May 2012
MORE than 2,000 people have joined a rally against the potential closure of a North Yorkshire hospital’s paediatric department.
The services at Northallerton’s Friarage Hospital could be moved to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, 22 miles away, after a report by the National Clinical Advisory Team (NCAT) said the unit was “not sustainable”.
Saturday’s rally was staged at the town’s County Hall and was followed by a march through the town. Richmond MP William Hague addressedthe crowd, saying he had discussed the proposals with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. He added: “It’s a really important hospital and I think people from outside the area don’t realise the distances involved.”
Richmondshire District Council leader John Blackie, who co-organised the rally, said the turnout was fantastic and sent out a very loud, clear and compelling message to the NHS.
However, Lorna Garrick, of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said Mr Hague should not have turned up due to his role as a cabinet minister at a time of Government cuts, describing his appearance as “a PR exercise”.
The NCAT report is now being considered by NHS bosses and a public consultation process has also begun.
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