And now businesses and shops in the town are being urged to come forward to show their support by displaying the paper copies for people to sign.
The online petition was launched by Burton MP Andrew Griffiths in response to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan drawn up by county health chiefs which has revealed proposals to downgrade an accident and emergency department at either Burton Queen’s Hospital, Royal Stoke or the County Hospital in Stafford.
The plans were made by a county-wide review board looking into how money can be saved on Staffordshire’s health bill, in the hope of making treatment more efficient, with those making the plans saying that in four years’ time, health and social care in Staffordshire will be in deficit, with a threat of a funding gap of £542 million unless action is taken.
Mr Griffiths said it is vitally important that the people of Burton and South Derbyshire have their voices heard on the matter and that their message is hammered home to the people making the decisions.
He said: “I am absolutely staggered with the response, which is going really well. We have surpassed 5,000 signatures and people are really getting behind it. 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. 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.”
Mr Griffiths is also calling on businesses and shops to come forward to display paper versions of the petition to spread the word.
He said: “It is great that so many people are going on line but lots of people still need their voices to be heard and we want everyone in Burton to add their name to the petition. Paper versions of the petition are now available for those who do not have access to the internet and I am asking that people with businesses and shops in Burton and South Derbyshire to step forward and play a part in the campaign.
He added: “The intention is that the petition will be presented to both the people making the decision and also to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, so that nobody can be in any doubt that the whole of Burton backs the campaign. Please get in touch if you feel you can share the petition in your shop and business and we will deliver some to you.”
(Story credited to Ms Rhea Turner of the Burton Mail)