PROTESTORS angry about the closure of the University Hospital of Hartlepool’s A&E department will take part in a protest march to make their voices heard.
It has been organised amid growing anger and frustration after health chiefs announced the emergency care department is to close on August 2.
Organisers have issued a rallying call for supporters of the hospital to turn out in force for the march next Wednesday night.
Organiser, Jean Basey, 74, of Tunstall Avenue, Hartlepool, said: “People that I have been in touch with are so relieved to hear about the march.
“They have been saying they are so frustrated and angry. People want to protest, but don’t know how to do it.
“I’m hopeful it will be well supported.
“I want the A&E closure stopped, nothing less than that.”
Protestors are due to set off from the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre ramp, in York Road, at 7pm on Wednesday and march to the war memorial in Victoria Road where Keith Fisher, chairman of the Save Our Hospital campaign, will speak.
He is backing the event and is encouraging everyone who cares about the issue to take part.
Mr Fisher said: “I’m overjoyed that someone is actually doing something as we all should be.
“We need everyone who has stopped me in the street, written to me, sent me emails to turn up.
“Everybody can relate to the A&E. If we lose this it is the death knell.”
People who are not fit enough to march can join the rally at the war memorial opposite Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hospital bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that the A&E department was to close last month.
An independent review by health professionals, academics and local councillors declared the department unfit for purpose.
Patients in Hartlepool and east Durham in need of emergency attention will be dealt with at the new £20 million One Life Hartlepool, in Park Road, Hartlepool.
The department is one of three round-the-clock health services in town that are being transferred to the centre as part of the Momentum: pathways to healthcare programme.
Carole Langrick, lead director for the momentum programme, has said the aim is to move care out of hospital where possible and closer to people’s homes and stressed services in Hartlepool are just being provided in a different place.