Burton MP Andrew Griffiths has launched a campaign to save Queen’s Hospital’s accident and emergency department after plans were revealed to downgrade the unit. The shocking proposals, to make either the emergency unit out of Burton, Stoke or Stafford an urgent care unit, were made by a county-wide review board which is looking into how money can be saved on Staffordshire’s health bill, while making treatment more efficient.
However, residents in Burton and South Derbyshire have blasted the plans and Andrew Griffiths has drawn up a petition to present to those who will have the final say on our hospital’s future. Now we are giving our backing and urging people to get behind the cause. Mr Griffiths is urging people to sign the petition and ‘have their voices heard’ on the matter, which could mean the difference between life and death.
He said: “It is absolutely essential that the community in Burton come together and clearly demonstrate the importance and support for the A&E facility in Burton. This petition will express in no uncertain terms just how important local people value our A&E. The more signatures we can get on the petition the better. We need to make our voices heard.”
The intention is that the petition will be presented to both the people making the decision and also to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, so nobody can be in any doubt that the whole of Burton backs the campaign.”
Mr Griffiths said he is ‘staggered’ with the amount of support the petition has already received but maintained that people must sign it if they want to see results.
He said: “I am absolutely staggered that within 48 hours we already had 2,500 sign their names on the online petition. It is gathering support at such a pace which clearly demonstrates how passionate people are about the issue. I hope to get 10,000 signatures as I believe that level of support will send out a very clear message.”
Although the petition is currently only available online, plans are being made so that the petition can be available for those who do not have access to a computer.
Mr Griffiths said: “People can sign the petition online right now and paper copies will soon be appearing in shops and places around the town so that those without access to a computer can also add their voice to the campaign.”
The campaign was also backed by South Derbyshire’s MP Heather Wheeler, who told the Burton Mail she would not support any changes to Burton’s A&E.
She said: “The report makes it clear how well used and therefore necessary the A&E at Queen’s Burton Hospital is. Many South Derbyshire residents choose to use this hospital rather than Derby and I would not support any changes that disadvantage my constituents. I have had a number of really good, in-depth conversations with the chief executive Helen Scott-South and note that she is the lead on the possible changes to A&E services going forward. I have every faith in her to come to the right conclusion.”
(Story credited to Ms Rhea Turner of the Burton Mail)