Campaigners protest to save services at Bedford hospital

MBTC Hospital protest front
MBTC Hospital protest front

Campaigners turned out in force on Saturday to demonstrate against NHS cuts.

The co-ordinted action at Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes hospitals was in support of the NHS and health workers.

Bedford & Kempston MPMohammad Yasin joined councillors, health workers and families to call for an immediate increase in funding for the NHS and an end to cuts in services such as the threatened closure of Putnoe walk-in centre in Bedford.

The protest also called for the NHS to end the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership which proposes a merger between Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes hospitals. Protesters say the plan, which has beenongoing for seven years, has created has uncertainty about the future of A&E and paediatric and maternity services at the three hospital sites.

Instead, campaigners want the millions of pounds spent on the review process to be invested in patient care.

Rosie Newbigging, a member of the Hands off Bedford Hospital campaign, said: “Support from the public onSaturday was fantastic. Lots of people honked their car horns in support of the NHS and stopped to talk to us and read our leaflets. People love the NHS and are really worried about its future.

“We need to know all our local hospitals are here to stay with all services.

“Already services in Bedford have been cut with a dedicated stroke unit at Bedford hospital broken up and beds dispersed to different wards and Putnoe Walk-in Centre, which does so much to take the pressure away from A&E, is threatened with closure.

“We will not sit by and let our NHS be dismantled.”