The Save Newark Hospital Campaign will be the subject of a Westminster Hall debate on 6 July 2010. The meeting will be hosted by Patrick Mercer MP and will be addressed by Health Minister Simon Burns.
The hospital is not under threat of closure, but there are plans to downgrade the A & E Department to Minor Injuries (obliging ambulances to take more serious cases to Mansfield or Lincoln) and close a ward.
The decision to hold a debate contrasts with the approach taken when Mr Burns visited the hospital on 1 July 2010. At that time, he declined to meet representatives of the campaign group and hospital staff were told not to discuss the future of the hospital with him during his visit. The exact purpose of his visit is unclear, given that no-one could actually speak to him about the issues. One wonders what he understands by the word `democracy` if this is an example of his approach.
In the event, Patrick Mercer handed him a letter from the Campaign regretting that they had been "prevented from meeting you" and setting out their grievances. The text of the letter can be found at their web site, but in essence they not only oppose the downgrading of the hospital to a minor injuries unit, but argue that the consultation was flawed. They also claim that some of the arguments offered in support of the proposed changes quote rather selectively from the relevant report.
Further details at http://www.savenewarkhospital.org.uk/