Coffin protest predicts deaths from A&E closures

A macabre scene marked the steps of Lancashire's major trauma unit as protestors continue to battle for the re-opening of Chorley A&E.

Saturday, 17th September 2016, 12:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:05 pm
Protesters outside Chorley and South Ribble Hospital callign for the reopening of the A&E department. Photo: Chorley Labour Party

A dummy coffin complete with a ‘corpse’ was on display outside Royal Preston Hospital on Saturday to highlight what campaigners believe is a life or death situation now facing emergency services in the region since the closure of Chorley’s A&E in April.

Chris Lomax, president of Preston Trades Union Council, said: “It’s a sign of the absolute contempt that the right-wing government has for the people of this country.

“I’ve spoken to ambulance drivers who have ended up taking people all the way to Blackpool because Preston has been full. It’s causing problems all over Blackburn and Wigan.

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“We’re already on the slippery slope to the destruction of our NHS and we have got to start working our way back.”

Dozens of people attended the protest, which was just one of a co-ordinated series of simultaneous protests held outside hospitals in Wigan, Bolton, Blackpool, Blackburn and Lancaster.

Protestor Janet Newsham’s son Ben, 16, was born two months premature, and needed emergency treatment for a collapsed lung and a blood transfusion.

Janet, who lives in Preston, said: “He desperately needed treatment and he wouldn’t have survived if the NHS hadn’t been there for us.

“Every day we’re thankful he’s still with us.

“That’s the value of the NHS. Chorley A&E is another service that we are losing and it puts pressure on all the other hospitals that have to take additional patients as a result.

“We can’t afford to lose resources. People will not be getting the care they need when they need it.”