Petition for ‘action’ for adequate health care

Date published: 11 June 2011

A long standing health campaigner has launched an online petition in the hope of ensuring the Council does all it can to ensure the borough of Rochdale has adequate hospital care.

Councillor Jean Ashworth’s fight for the hospital has involved protest marches, paper petitions and even a council vote of no confidence in the management of the Pennine Acute trust.

She now hopes that the new ‘ePetition’ will help spread the message and encourage more people to show their support.

The petition states:

“We the undersigned petition the council to take all appropriate action within its power to ensure that the Borough and surrounding areas have adequate accessible Hospital Care.

“We feel that the NHS proposals to downgrade and remove services from the Rochdale Infirmary and Fairfield Hospitals are leaving this Borough and the surrounding areas unsafe and without adequate accessible Hospital Care.”

Councillor Ashworth said: “I have set up this petition because moving these services out of the Borough is causing unnecessary suffering and upset and has left inadequate accessible hospital care.

“Transport is a major issue, so is the lack of beds for our most vulnerable, particularity our elderly.

“Ambulances are constantly queuing at other A&E departments waiting to admit patients.

“I feel this borough and surrounding areas have been left unsafe.”

Councillor Ashworth added: “I hope the Secretary of Health and other government officials and Leaders Cameron and Clegg will look into this as a matter of urgency and treat our health needs.

“In this borough we are all individual to health care needs and should be treated on merit rather than ‘one size fits all’ as is the present case throughout healthcare reforms.”

“The petition will go to Parliament and I will ask our MPs in all of the affected areas Rochdale, Heywood Whitworth and Rossendale to request an urgent meeting to discuss the unsafe inadequate situation this Borough has been left in.”

Councillor Ashworth concluded: “I receive so many calls regarding the added stress and suffering from people every day through these closures, this is their chance to show this trust/government that it simply is not working.”

A joint statement from NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, The Pennine Acute Trust, Healthy Futures and Making it Better, said:  “The healthcare changes that are happening in Rochdale are part of the wider Greater Manchester Healthy Futures service reconfiguration and Making it Better, maternity and children’s services programme.

“These changes have been led and defined throughout by doctors, midwives and nurses to ensure that redesigned and new services will be of a high clinical standard in terms of quality and safety and better able to withstand the current increasing demand on NHS services locally. These changes not only increase the benefits to patients, but also allow for the centralisation of doctors, midwives and nurses with better use of their skills, expertise and resources.

“People in the borough need to be reassured that safety and quality are paramount in introducing these changes which are needed because existing services are not sustainable.

“The decisions to change the services have been scrutinised locally, by an Independent Reconfiguration Panel, by the High Court at a Judicial Review and by the Secretary of State.  Both Healthy Futures and Making it Better have recently been reviewed by a National Clinical Assessment Team of doctors and midwives have been approved by the regional Strategic Health Authority as meeting the Government’s four tests for the redesign of local NHS services.

“NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale welcome patient feedback. If you have concerns about your healthcare provision during these changes please contact NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0800 121 4430.”

The ePetition runs from until the 2 August 2011.

To sign it visit:

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