Why the Horton result is important to other NHS campaigns

Fighting4Life Lincolnshire campaigners in London
Fighting4Life Lincolnshire campaigners in London

NHS campaigners up and down the country have been inspired by the team fighting to keep services at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury after a key success last week.

A deputy High Court judge said opponents of the Horton Hospital’s downgrading should be allowed a full hearing into the lawfulness of the public consultation held before last month’s decision to permanently close 45 beds and remove consultant-led maternity.

Sarah Stock, of Fighting4Life Lincolnshire, explains the importance of the court ruling to other campaigners fighting to save services at their district hospitals.

“The Horton campaign is important to every county. Lincolnshire is one among many that has lost the same services as the Horton," she said.

“Each county is told provision, downgrading and closure of services are a ‘local issue’, but are seemingly being carried out to the exact same format across the country, so not a ‘local issue’ at all but a national directive.

“Campaign groups across the country have been joining forces and finding their campaigns are not just similar but some are identical, down to the wording of the reasons and poor excuses behind the closures.

“Lack of credible evidence and manipulated statistics behind the decisions appear common place and serve to carry out the national directive to further dismantle the NHS.

“Campaigners, many knowledgeable NHS medical consultants, registrars, GPs and nurses are deemed ‘scaremongerers’ in an attempt to diffuse the storm which is brewing.

“It is hugely political that the NHS is being dismantled. The NHS is needed. Irrespective of political affiliation, we all bleed.

“It is as simple as informing the government, any government, that we the people, will not accept the cuts being made unnecessarily to the detriment of our lives.

“What was once the first major trauma centre here in the Trent region is now a very limited hospital with time-restricted access to services.

“The distances to other hospitals are unacceptable. The threat of further closure and dismantling of services through Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships creates further concern.

“The fight will continue to maintain and reinstate service provision.”