Pressure grows to Save Our Services

AS health trusts continue to move forward with their plans for closing community hospitals, The Evening Star is today stepping up its campaign by placing pressure on health secretary Patricia Hewitt.

AS health trusts continue to move forward with their plans for closing community hospitals, The Evening Star is today stepping up its campaign by placing pressure on health secretary Patricia Hewitt.

In the centre pages of today's edition you will find a Save Our Services poster which we are urging as many households and businesses as possible to display in a show of unity against the cuts.

Ms Hewitt is the only person who has the power to stop the changes, and the Star is calling on her to hold a full independent review into them before anything proceeds.

Nigel Pickover, Evening Star editor, said: “We realise change must come but what's happening in Suffolk is that there's a real danger the baby's going to be thrown out with the bath water, and that something very special is going to be lost.

“We want these changes reviewed and Patricia Hewitt is the only woman that can do it.”

If the cuts go ahead this will see two community hospitals, three day hospitals for mentally ill older people and a range of community mental health services closed - in east Suffolk alone.

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Early indications show that Suffolk's Health Scrutiny Committee may well refer the proposals back to Ms Hewitt at the end of the month but, regardless of their decision, we want her to look again before services are gone forever.

When the Star quizzed the members of the committee last week, more than half expressed serious concerns about the cuts.

MPs across Suffolk are also backing our campaign and have urged Ms Hewitt to think again.

Tim Yeo, MP for South Suffolk, said: “Everyone knows that any talk about changes being introduced for the benefit of the people of the county is absolute rubbish.

“There is only one reason these changes are being proposed and that is to cut costs.”

Copies of the Star's coverage of the health crisis, including today's poster will be sent to Ms Hewitt and a request has already been made for an interview with her.

You can contact Patricia Hewitt by writing to: Secretary of State for Health, Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS or e-mailing: hewittph@parliament.uk

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