Valentine’s Day battle over Hartlepool hospital services

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CAMPAIGNERS will show their love and passion for Hartlepool’s hospital in a protest on Valentine’s Day.

The Save Our Hospital Campaign is organising a static protest in Hartlepool town centre as part of their efforts to see vital services returned to the town.

Preview of a protest by Save Our Hospital Campaign Group'middle, campaign organiser's Michelle McIntyre and Keith Fisher

Preview of a protest by Save Our Hospital Campaign Group'middle, campaign organiser's Michelle McIntyre and Keith Fisher

It follows on from a march when hundreds of supporters took part that left hospital managers in no doubt about the strength of feeling over the loss of services from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.

The protest will be held in Victory Square by the war memorial, on Saturday, February 14, from 11am.

Organiser Michelle McIntyre, 28, of the Save Our Hospital campaign, said: “We have chosen Valentine’s Day because we love our hospital and we love the NHS.

“We want our hospital back and thought it was quite symbolic to have it on February 14 and put the heart back in Hartlepool.”

The campaign is co-ordinated through the Town of Hartlepool Challenge Facebook page.

Two hundred supporters have confirmed they will be attending so far.

“We are hoping to pick up people walking past who are interested in what we are doing and are hoping for as many people as possible as it affects everybody in the town,” added Michelle, who lives in Dyke House.

Speakers on the day will include campaign stalwart Keith Fisher and a spokesman for Peterlee.

The protest also coincides with a national day of action by the 999 Call for the NHS movement which is campaigning against cuts to the service.

The Save Our Hospital campaign has gained momentum since North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust announced it was not going ahead with plans for a new £300m replacement hospital at Wynyard.

It was after the trust failed to secure funding from the Government.

Michelle, married to Matt Thomas, and mum to Ebonni, 12, added: “I’m quite new to the campaign but prior to getting involved I’ve felt the effects of the changes to Hartlepool hospital.

“I think a lot of people had pinned their hopes on Wynyard.

“Hartlepool hospital should not have had services taken away before Wynyard opened.

“Hartlepool should have been phased out once Wynyard opened, not before then or got any funding.

“I think a lot of people now are angry.

“We are not going away, we will keep fighting.”

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

To add your name to the campaign, long onto www. hartlepoolmail.co.uk or call into our reception in Wesley Square between 10am-2pm, Monday to Friday.