UK Towns and cities keywords:
Determined protest against Chatsworth Ward closure
Jon Dale, Mansfield Socialist Party
As Chatsworth ward marchers assembled outside Mansfield Community Hospital on 2 September many passing drivers hooted in support. When the demonstration reached the town centre, shoppers clapped and cheered.
Over a hundred nurses, therapists, patients and former patients, along with family members and supporters, were led by the new '#WeAreAllChatsworth' campaign banner. Banners and flags from Unison, Unite, the Royal College of Nursing, Mansfield Socialist Party and others followed.
Brave and determined staff and patients are growing in confidence. Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust board and the clinical commissioning group (CCG) have shifted their position again.
They have now recognised the need for a continuing neuro-rehabilitation service in this area. It is still under discussion as to whether that service will be provided by Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust or another provider.
The campaign has been told there will be no changes until these discussions and plans have been made clear and discussed with "the experts", as one senior manager described ward staff. The original November closure date is cancelled.
After the past few weeks, since CCG and trust directors came to the meeting in the ward dayroom of staff, patients and their families, have a growing feeling that Chatsworth belongs to them - not the board. Instead of facing the end of this vital service, there is steely determination it will be saved.
Chatsworth ward must remain a public service. The campaign has shown how its scope should even be increased.
The campaign featured on the back page of the Socialist, and 60 people bought copies of that paper at the demo.