Rotherham health workers and politicians take petition to Downing St

Today health workers, UNISON campaigners and politicians from Rotherham made their way to Downing Street to deliver a petition signed by 2,500 local people concerned about the future of Rotherham Hospital.

Since Rotherham Show campaigners have asked people to show their support for the hospital as it faces an uncertain future.

Today local MP John Healey, Cllrs Emma Hoddinott and Brian Steele from Rotherham Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, and staff and trade unionists from the hospital took their message to the Prime Minister.

Earlier this year, campaigners revealed how the number of nurses had fallen at the hospital, whilst the number of patients waiting more than four hours in A&E had risen by more than 250%.

Rotherham Hospital is being forced by the government to cut £50 million from its budget and on 19th December, the Hospital Board will agree a long-awaited report about how services should be organised and which services continue to be viable in the long term.

The Board have repeatedly said that all services are under consideration, whilst campaigners want to keep their NHS services local and not lose them to neighbouring towns.

In October John Healey MP challenged the Health Secretary in Parliament over the way Tory legislation promotes competition considerations over patient care and has publicly called for a hospital merger to be taken off the table.

Gill Garnett, who works in Rotherham’s A&E department and who be part of the delegation to Downing Street said: “Hospital staff are doing great work under enormous pressure, but they can’t continue to stretch resources thinner and thinner.

“It’s been great to receive such overwhelming support from the public in Rotherham. We all want our hospital to get through this difficult time so as these big decisions loom we’re sending a clear message to this government about how much Rotherham values its hospital.”

John Healey MP said: “The government’s huge upheaval of the Health Service has taken billions of pounds away from frontline services, and put competition laws ahead of patient care. We’ve already begun to see the impact in Rotherham.

“We will keep fighting for our local services because we know that so many people depend on them.”

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, who sits on Rotherham Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee said:
“In the first three months after the Tory – Lib Dem government’s NHS Act came into force, 21 of the first 25 contracts for NHS services around the country went to private companies and not NHS providers.

“As councillors we have been pressing the interim Chief Executive at the Hospital for concessions to try to protect our local services. Now, as big decisions loom for Rotherham, people have quite understandably told us how much they fear for the future of our NHS.”