Vote to spend cash on hospital closure protest

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

COUNCILLORS have voted to spend £23,000 backing a protest march against controversial plans to downgrade a hospital’s accident and emergency service.

NHS proposals to centre acute care in Durham and Darlington at the expense of Bishop Auckland General Hospital have been criticised by residents since an announcement in September.

Wear Valley district councillors want to take their objections a step further by staging a protest march in the town in November.

With support from all parties the march is no longer considered a political issue and could be funded by the authority. Draft costings are about £23,000, but the event, which may mean areas of Bishop Auckland will have to be cordoned off, must be approved by emergency services and legal advisors.

District council leader Neil Harrison proposed the march at a meeting on Wednesday night.

He said: “This council is deeply concerned at any potential reduction to patient care within Wear Valley and surrounding areas. Any planned closure or service reduction of accident and emergency provision at Bishop Auckland General Hospital runs counter to current NHS consultation, which stresses the need for a service which is responsive to local views.

“As this affects us all, and is not a political issue, I call upon all members to support a peaceful demonstration as a reflection of the community’s wishes.”

Several petitions under way in the district are thought to contain 10,000 signatures. A Save Bishop Auckland General’s accident and emergency Facebook group also has the support of nearly 3,700 members.

Councillor David Kingston said councillors must make their voices heard before public consultation ends in December. “This is the last chance we have to make our presence felt,” he said.

Councillors also decided to contact MPs Hilary Armstrong and Helen Goodman and ask them to air concerns in the House of Commons.

Councillor Neil Stonehouse said: “We are dismayed by the proposal to remove acute medical provision from Bishop Auckland.

“This amounts to a serious reduction in the delivery of medical services to the communities of south west Durham.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:22am Fri 17 Oct 08

dolanp1 says...

It would appear to be a good idea but its a little late in coming forward. We the taxpayer will be paying for the building of a £67 million hospital for years to come, its not 10 years old yet, so why are un-accountable bodies allowed to keep shutting parts of it so that their position in New Labours league table culture is maintained. To me Bishop Auckland General is far superior to the Memorial in Darlington and I speak from being in both.
It would appear to be a good idea but its a little late in coming forward. We the taxpayer will be paying for the building of a £67 million hospital for years to come, its not 10 years old yet, so why are un-accountable bodies allowed to keep shutting parts of it so that their position in New Labours league table culture is maintained. To me Bishop Auckland General is far superior to the Memorial in Darlington and I speak from being in both. dolanp1
  • Score: 0

4:35pm Fri 17 Oct 08

pw82 says...

it is such a shame isn it our hospital will close eventually we are just trying desperately to slow the process down the cost cutting excercise will eventually become a life cutting exercise good old pct eh!
it is such a shame isn it our hospital will close eventually we are just trying desperately to slow the process down the cost cutting excercise will eventually become a life cutting exercise good old pct eh! pw82
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Fri 17 Oct 08

Sardonicus says...

Quote "We the taxpayer will be paying for the building of a £67 million hospital for years to come".
Not quite so I'm affraid, dolanp1.
The Hospital was built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). I think you will find the NHS is paying a hefty rent to use the premises. You may also note from its construction that it can quickly be converted to "other uses". This is in-line with PFI planning so that, should the NHS decide they don't need it anymore it can become offices, accommodation or retail units very quickly.
One more NuLabour white elephant.
Quote "We the taxpayer will be paying for the building of a £67 million hospital for years to come". Not quite so I'm affraid, dolanp1. The Hospital was built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). I think you will find the NHS is paying a hefty rent to use the premises. You may also note from its construction that it can quickly be converted to "other uses". This is in-line with PFI planning so that, should the NHS decide they don't need it anymore it can become offices, accommodation or retail units very quickly. One more NuLabour white elephant. Sardonicus
  • Score: 0
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree