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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 September 2017

Tragic death highlights Chatsworth ward closure risk

Marching to save Chatsworth ward, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans

Marching to save Chatsworth ward, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans   (Click to enlarge)

Jon Dale, Mansfield Socialist Party

Chatsworth ward campaigners were shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of a Mansfield man in a house fire recently. Although the full circumstances are not known, the 54-year-old victim was disabled.

The campaign believes this shows how essential it is to have both strong community support and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.

Past council cuts in community services and the threatened closure of Chatsworth ward mean the lives of many local people with disabilities will be more difficult and even dangerous.

As well as thousands of local people signing petitions, among others lending support to the campaign has been Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary. "Campaigns like 'we are all Chatsworth' show the massive support for the NHS throughout the community," he said. "We must all fight together to save our NHS."

Despite an assurance from the Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust chief executive to the whole ward staff that no one would be disciplined for participating in the campaign to save Chatsworth ward, in this past week two leading members of the campaign have faced thinly veiled threats from senior management.

Campaigners were angered to hear this and are calling on all their unions to step up the fight to defend Chatsworth and local health services.

It is vital all health unions give full support to members taking a courageous stand on behalf of their patients. If any disciplinary action were taken, this would quickly need to be taken up at national level. Health workers have a right to speak out to defend their patients' services and must not be muzzled.

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