HOSPITAL: We will stand our ground

Berwick is having its biggest rebellion in decades as the residents are rebelling against Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust on decisions for a hospital to be integrated with the leisure centre.

Thursday, 18th October 2018, 6:55 am

We might be up here next to the border, but let me tell you that the people of Berwick and the surrounding areas are not stupid and they will stand their ground at whatever cost, so Northumberland County Council and NHS trust be aware.

Following on from the evening session in The Salvation Hall, Church Street, A Better Hospital For Berwick committee gave an update of what was in the pipeline. The attendance was fantastic, it was packed to the gunnels.

After the update it was question time as residents fired questions towards the committee and gave accounts of their experience and issues.

Some of the stories were heartfelt. I, myself, have had harrowing experiences travelling up and down the A1.

A Better Hospital for Berwick is putting pressure on the council and NHS trust as we go to Morpeth meetings to show support for a better hospital. We have asked them to come to Berwick, but they show a reluctance to do so, but we will keep trying.

On October 3, the committee organised another update session in The Guildhall; once again the attendance was overwhelming. It makes it all worthwhile to fight to get a better hospital that is fit for purpose. If the attendance keeps swelling we might have to hire The Swan Centre next time, keep it up.

During the session we got an update from Kirsty Jamieson, saying the county council and NHS trust have now discarded an integrated hospital with leisure centre and a new stand-alone hospital will be built on a separate site.

Great news – now we have to fight for services.

I was pleased with the outcome of both online votes, as well as the Fit For Purpose Hospital campaign, which has more than 3,000 signatures and is still growing.

This petition was taken to Eyemouth, Coldingham and Chirnside in the North to support us, Purdy Lodge to the South, Belford and Wooler to the West, and Seahouses and Holy Island in the East. A big thank you to all the helpers who have delivered and collected them.

Thank you to the residents for having faith in A Better Hospital For Berwick committee to pursue the campaign on their behalf and for their generosity of donations at both sessions as this will pay for the hiring of venues and for stationery.

Alex Gibson

A Better Hospital For Berwick