More than 50,000 passionate residents have signed a petition in the fight to save Burton’s accident and emergency unit from the threat of being downgraded. People from across Burton and South Derbyshire have shown an overwhelming vote of confidence in the department, as they have joined forces to add their voices to the petition which has been drawn up to prevent the unit at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital from becoming an urgent care centre.
MP’s including Andrew Bridgen and Heather Wheeler have also thrown their weight behind the campaign, which voices outrage about plans outlined in the county’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) to turn an emergency unit in either Burton, Stoke or Stafford into an urgent care unit.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths drew up the petition and said he has been left “staggered” by the “truly phenomenal” response, which has seen more than half of the town’s population get behind the fight.
He said: “We have more than 50,000 signatures now and 10,000 hard copy signatures is really encouraging. It demonstrates that people who are unable to access the online petition have stepped up to make sure all voices are heard. Businesses and community groups have got involved and it has been a real community effort. I am staggered by the level of support and how energised and motivated local people have been and this response recognises how important it is to keep Burton’s accident and emergency unit open. Often where politics is concerned there is a lot of apathy but people have really engaged with this important fight.”
The petition, which will be presented to those making the decisions on the hospital’s future, has now received a whopping 43,119 signatures online.
Mr Griffiths added: “We are fighting for the survival of a vital service in Burton. Our friends, families and children rely on this facility and lives depend on it. It takes 30 second to sign the petition but doing so could save a life. This is an overwhelming vote of confidence in Burton’s A&E and highlights a very clear demand. This vital facility must stay open. We won’t know how effective we have been until the judgement has been made so I would urge people to not get complacent, and to add their signatures if they haven’t already. Every single signature matters. Every week we see examples of how Burton’s accident and emergency department has saved lives. Downgrading it and forcing seriously ill patients to have to go to Derby adds extra time to them getting the life-saving treatment that they require. I genuinely think that if it closes, lives will be lost. This petition is for the good of the town.”
The petition is available online at www.saveburtonaande.com and paper copies to sign are available in shops and businesses around the town, including the Burton Mail office.
(Story credited to Ms Rhea Turner of the Burton Mail)