Vigil raises fears on future of NHS

Unison demonstration outside Blackpool's Victoria Hospital.
Unison demonstration outside Blackpool's Victoria Hospital.
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HEALTH workers have protested over fears on the future of the Fylde coast NHS.

They gathered at Blackpool Victoria Hospital (BVH) to highlight concerns about hospital services on the 63rd birthday of the organisation.

Recent setbacks to the local health service include the closure of Wesham Hospital, privatisation of Bispham Rehabilitation Centre, the outsourcing of NHS laundry services at The Vic and redundancies among medical staff.

Now it is feared more hospital services could be axed.

Steve Holmes, branch secretary for Unison at BVH, said: “Health providers are being asked to find savings of another £1bn this year with cuts of £50m in this area over the next three to four years.

“We are concerned about jobs but also the impact on the service.

“Later this year the Primary Care Trust and foundation trust will conduct a public consultation on local community hospitals and we’re worried that could lead to further closures which means a reduction in service for local people.”

Sue Foster, a bio-medical scientist in the pathology department at BVH, said: “I’ve worked in the hospital for 31 years and it has never been as bad as this. We all have to fight this because it is going to affect everyone.”

Karen Harte, a community nurse for Blackpool Primary Care Trust, said: “So much money is being taken out of the NHS so how can we provide good quality services for the area?

“There is so much reorganisation, staff are very worried about their jobs. Posts are going and not being filled.”

Terry Bennett, 69, of Dinmore Avenue, Grange Park, who supported the vigil, said: “We need to make sure the hospital serves the needs of the people.”