Karen Seymour, Mansfield Socialist Party
35 concerned patients, ex-patients and staff attended a passionate public meeting called by the Socialist Party on 3 August to discuss plans to fight the closure of the Chatsworth rehabilitation ward at Mansfield Community Hospital. Its dedicated staff treat people with long-term neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
An ex-patient spoke movingly from the platform about how the staff had cared for him when he felt alone and vulnerable and a current patient made his way over the road from the hospital in his wheelchair to attend. Other platform speakers included Socialist Party members Tom Hunt, the Chatsworth ward leader, Jean Thorpe, local trade union council secretary and Jon Dale.
Although staff have been found positions at another local hospital, their first concern was for their patients, whose quality of care would suffer if Chatsworth closes.
The powers that be who want to close this ward think that it will not be missed. But staff, patients and other interested parties are ready to create a massive fuss to get this decision reversed. They understand that if this small ward closes, more could follow.
A campaign committee was set up, showing the determination of all to fight to keep this ward open.
To loud applause from the whole meeting a nurse thanked the Socialist Party for helping to get the campaign to save Chatsworth Ward started. She said that without this support staff felt they would be walked into closure.
The meeting, which was full of tears and laughter, was later shown on the BBC regional news and a Socialist Party campaign stall on 5 August also raised £76 fighting fund and sold 31 copies of the Socialist.