Battle to rescue hospital

MAKING A POINT: Staff at Heron's food store on Lord Street, Fleetwood, with a copy of a petition to keep Rossall Hospital open. From left: Karen Wheeldon (store mananger) with Rachel Sutton and Mandy O'Flaherty.
MAKING A POINT: Staff at Heron's food store on Lord Street, Fleetwood, with a copy of a petition to keep Rossall Hospital open. From left: Karen Wheeldon (store mananger) with Rachel Sutton and Mandy O'Flaherty.

LET’S save Rossall Hospital - that’s the rallying cry from Fleetwood folk opposed to the threatened closure of the town’s medical hub.

Closure would mean a 26-mile round trip for Fleetwood patients in need of rehabilitation – usually the elderly.

A petition is currently circulating throughout the town and has already gathered hundreds of names.

It has been started by worried members of Rossall’s 80-strong staff, who are not able to speak about the campaign in public.

But there is massive support for the campaign and the Fleetwood Town Council member for health, Coun Bill Barrow, told the Weekly News: “This petition is crucial.

“It will put the health authorities in no doubt about the strength of feeling right there is about this, right across Fleetwood.”

Copies of the petition have been placed in shops throughout the town, including Asda, the Scotch Bakery, Herons food store and the Elms dental practice on London Street.

At Herons, on Lord Street, store manager Karen Wheeldon said: “We are fully behind the petition and one of them has already been filled in completely. It is a big worry that Rossall could close. A lot of elderly customers are concerned about it.”

The 40-bed Rossall Rehab Unit on Westway, which offers respite care for elderly patients, could close as part of plans by NHS chiefs to combine older patients’ care services across the Fylde.

Rossall could close and patients moved 13 miles away – to Clifton Hospital in St Annes.

A 12-week consultation process is now under way and residents can find out more when a public meeting is held at the Marine Hall on December 12, from 6pm. The meeting will include a public question time and a chance for one-to-one discussions.

The petition will be presented to NHS representatives at that meeting.