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Campaigners host handholding protest as fight to save hospital intensifies

PUBLISHED: 16:29 07 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:30 07 April 2019

Campaigners at a handholding protest at All Hallows Healthcare Trust in Ditchingham. Picture: Joseph Norton

Campaigners at a handholding protest at All Hallows Healthcare Trust in Ditchingham. Picture: Joseph Norton

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Save our hospital!

Campaigners at the handhold protest at All Hallows hospital. Picture: Joseph NortonCampaigners at the handhold protest at All Hallows hospital. Picture: Joseph Norton

That was the clear message campaigners sent out to health service bosses as they took part in a handholding protest at All Hallows Healthcare Trust on Sunday.

More than 150 people joined forces as they stood in unity around the hospital in Ditchingham, near Bungay, to make sure their concerns over the proposed closure were heard.

Last month the board of trustees announced the village’s healthcare service would close.

The trust treats some 250 people a day and has around 280 staff.

Campaigners held hands around the hospital in protest to its scheduled closure. Picture: SubmittedCampaigners held hands around the hospital in protest to its scheduled closure. Picture: Submitted

Since the announcement of the scheduled closure, ‘Save All Hallows!’ campaign group has been set up as residents fight to keep the hospital open.

Jaime Larter, 40, who helped to set up the group, said she was overwhelmed by the turnout.

“I am really emotional. This service is at the heart of the community and we are doing everything we can to keep it open,” she said.

“I want to urge people not to lose hope because we are determined to make a difference.”

Jaime Larter, 40, who set up ‘Save All Hallows!’ campaign group. Picture: SubmittedJaime Larter, 40, who set up ‘Save All Hallows!’ campaign group. Picture: Submitted

A petition to save the trust which was set up last month now has more than 6,700 signatures.

A statement which was read out at a public meeting about the hospital on Saturday, March 30, from the trust and the health and social care commissioners, said: “Following the announcement of the likely closure of All Hallows, we are working hard to ensure that those currently receiving care will continue to do so with another provider.

“We understand this is a worrying time for everyone involved but want to offer our reassurance that the current level of care will continue, wherever possible, until alternative care provision is found.”

Lorna Quorn, who lives in Ditchingham, said the care the hospital provided for her mum before she died was brilliant.

Campaigners Kevin Wingfield and Richard Chilvers at the protest. Picture: SubmittedCampaigners Kevin Wingfield and Richard Chilvers at the protest. Picture: Submitted

Mrs Quorn said: “My mum could not have been looked after in a better way.

“The hospital is a wonderful asset to the village and extremely important. The decision to close it is absolutely horrendous.”

Kevin Wingfield, 71, from Lowestoft, who is also part of the campaign group Lowestoft Coalition Against The Cuts, said it is vital the community sticks together for such an important issue.

The next planned protest is scheduled to be a slow walk through Bungay town centre which will take place next weekend.

Full details of the event will follow later on this week.

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