Hundreds set for Valentine’s Day protest over Hartlepool hospital services

Save Our Hospital Campaign Group'Front campaign organiser's Michelle McIntyre and Keith Fisher

Save Our Hospital Campaign Group'Front campaign organiser's Michelle McIntyre and Keith Fisher

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MORE than 400 protestors are expected at a Valentine’s Day demonstration by campaigners calling for the return of services to Hartlepool’s hospital.

Organisers say the number of people set to attend has doubled in recent weeks as the campaign gathers pace.

They will gather in Victory Square, in Hartlepool town centre, from 11am, on Saturday.

Members of the Save Our Hospital campaign group will speak along with Hartlepool MP Iain Wright and parliamentary candidates.

One of the organisers Michelle McIntyre, a 28-year-old mum of one, said: “The response from people has been fantastic. We have more than doubled the expected number and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre are supporting us.

“I knew there was going to be a lot of support but I have been overwhelmed by people who want to help and have printed their own leaflets to publicise it.

“We have been in contact with the council and police to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“We are expecting around 400 people and hope people passing will join in.”

Speakers will include Keith Fisher, of the Save Our Hospital group, and parliamentary candidates Stephen Picton (independent), Richard Royal (Conservative), Phillip Broughton (UKIP) and Michael Holt (Green Party).

The event will be compered by Jason Anderson from Radio Hartlepool.

The campaign to restore services to the Holdforth Road site, has also gained the support of the 999 Call for the NHS movement which is holding a national day of action on the same day.

Saturday’s event has been co-ordinated online through the Town of Hartlepool Challenge Facebook group.

Michelle, of Dyke House, added more events are in the pipeline.

“We want to keep the momentum going and hopefully make a difference sooner rather than later,” she said.

It was announced last week that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has agreed to meet with town MP Iain Wright to discuss the growing uncertainty about the future of the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Hospital managers at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have said the changes have been based on clinical advice and services will not be returned.

The Mail’s Bring Them Back petition, which will be handed to hospital trust bosses, has had more than 12,000 signatures.