‘Ignore us at your peril’: Hundreds march to save services at ‘first NHS Hospital’ in Trafford

By James McLaughlin

Hundreds of Trafford residents marched on the ‘birthplace of the NHS’ amid fears of cuts at the hospital, over the weekend.

A recent report identified possible reductions including Trafford General’s accident and emergency and intensive care departments to account for a £19m shortfall.

The ‘Save Trafford General’ campaign organised a march through Urmston to voice opposition to the plans including a demonstration in the hospital car park.

Campaign chair, Matthew Finnegan, said: “The Trust has to listen to us. Ignore us at your peril. Today’s march is just the start.”

The march set off from Golden Hill Park, Urmston before travelling to the hospital and back to the park for speeches from campaign figures and residents.

Protesters arrived at the hospital holding placards and singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to celebrate 64 years since Trafford General was christened as the first NHS hospital.

Union representatives also showed their support and Ian Heyes, 69, of Wigan and Leigh Unite said: “Our war heroes fought for all this. We need to protect it.”

Participants also ‘raised the red card’ to the Central Manchester University Hospitals Trust who run the hospital in order to demand a referendum on the issue.

MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, marched with constituents but said that ensuring they were provided with the highest level of care was the priority rather than location.

“No change is not an option here in Trafford. But change must enhance not diminish the NHS services our constituents need,” she said vowing to raise the issues with Health Ministers this week.

Thousands have signed a petition started by the campaign calling for the Central Manchester and University Hospitals Trust to maintain Trafford General’s round-the-clock emergency services.

However, a draft pre-consultation report cites the current financial position of the hospital as ‘unsustainable’ with proposals to relocate services to Wythenshawe Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Public consultation is due to begin next week until October and details of the report are available here.

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