Hundreds of local residents marched today (Saturday, 11th August) from St Michael’s Hospital in Lichfield to the Victoria Hospital in Lichfield to protest against plans to reduce hospital services in Lichfield. The Health Authority plan to build a new hospital in Lichfield, but with fewer facilities. In particular, they plan
- to close the Hammerwich Hospital in Burntwood
- to close day surgery and endoscopy in Lichfield
- to close the maternity ward in Lichfield if a Government review does not provide for continued service
- not to guarantee all the bed places currently available
At the end of the march, Michael Fabricant addressed the meeting in the grounds of the Victoria Hospital. He said that the march had been a "great success" and "demonstrated to the Health Authority the strength of local feeling". He read out parts of a letter he had received from the Prime Minister and said that Tony Blair had said that he hopes there will be local agreement over the future of hospital services. Michael Fabricant told the crowd that if no such agreement can be reached he would "inform the Prime Minister and take him at his word that the Government would examine the whole issue of health care in Lichfield and Burntwood". He asked the marchers now to write to the Chief Executive of the Health Authority and make it plain that "in Lichfield and Burntwood which has a rapidly growing population, we should not be considering the provision of fewer health care facilities than at present".