Anger over hospital closure proposals

Rossall Hospital Rehabilitation Unit
Rossall Hospital Rehabilitation Unit

A FLEETWOOD councillor is leading the protests over plans to close facilities at Rossall Hospital and move them 13 miles away – to St Annes.

And Coun Bill Barrow is urging residents in the town to make their feelings known about the controversial proposals.

The NHS is proposing to close rehabilitation facilities for older people at Rossall and move the service to St Annes’ Clifton Hospital.

But the decision, which is now under consultation, has been branded “ridiculous” by Fleetwood councillors who claim residents will suffer if the changes go ahead.

Coun Barrow, Fleetwood Town councillor with responsibility for health, says residents should not be travelling from Fleetwood to St Annes for treatment.

He said: “The service is going to be so far away if it goes to Clifton. It’s ridiculous because it can take an hour and a half or two hours to get there if you don’t have your own transport.

“They will be isolated because they can’t go there and it’s something I will be making noises about.”

Coun Barrow is calling for more of Fleetwood’s services to be used instead of other Fylde coast hospitals taking the strain.

He added: “We have a proposal for 20 beds to open at Fleetwood Hospital and I would like to see greater development because the existing hospital has been under used. The service they are talking about bringing in at Clifton could be done in Fleetwood.

“There’s room to provide care and beds at this end of the coast.”

The NHS hospitals trust has previously said the changes, which have been developed by hospital consultants and GPs, will increase staffing levels and provide more senior therapy and nursing support for patients.

But Coun Barrow added: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of people who’ve spoken to me about the changes before the consultation period was announced and they have told me the changes shouldn’t be going ahead.”

And Chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, Coun Alan Marsh, said: “We have a big hospital in Fleetwood that could be used. We have got to get people to voice their opinions.”

Tom Norton, chairman of Fleetwood Action Group said: “It’s too far for people to go. We have Rossall Hospital which is doing the job it was built for and what they must realise is this is serving the public.

“The hospital should be used to its full capacity and if it isn’t then the service should come to Fleetwood, not Clifton.

“If we have to get a petition together to stop this then we will do.”

A public meeting will be held at the Marine Hall, The Esplanade, Fleetwood, at 6pm on December 12, where residents can find out more.