Health protest march cancelled

PROPOSALS to stage a big countywide protest over cuts to hospitals and health services have been dropped because of lack of interest.Talks were taking place between campaign groups over the possibility of a march and rally to take place ahead of this month's meeting which will decide whether or not to reject the cuts and send the matter to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

PROPOSALS to stage a big countywide protest over cuts to hospitals and health services have been dropped because of lack of interest.

Talks were taking place between campaign groups over the possibility of a march and rally to take place ahead of this month's meeting which will decide whether or not to reject the cuts and send the matter to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

The idea was to have the march a few days before the meeting - so councillors on the county health scrutiny and overview committee will know the strength of public feeling.

Roy Gray, chairman of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals action group, said: “We don't believe there would be enough support for a march.

“We feel the best course of action now is to encourage people to write to the members of the scrutiny committee, or to email them, so they know how people feel.

“They will take more notice of hundreds of letters dropping onto their doormats than a few people taking part in a march.”

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As well as the axe hanging over the Bartlet at Felixstowe, Hartismere Hospital, the Walnuttree at Sudbury, and mental health services face the axe.

The scrutiny committee meets in Bury St Edmunds on February 28. If it decides the Changing for the Better consultation exercise was flawed, it can refer the matter back to the secretary of state. Ms Hewitt could then order the whole process to be carried out again.

Mr Gray said a national march against the health cuts, organised by CHANT (Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together), would take place on March 28 in London and a coach would be going from Felixstowe to join the demonstration.

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