City to march against cuts to hospital staff

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Hundreds of people will march through Lancaster city centre on Saturday in protest against cuts to hospital services.

The event has been organised by Lancaster and Morecambe Trades Union Council (LMTUC), after a decision was made to take to the streets at a public meeting earlier this year.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust must make £30m worth of savings by 2014, and is proposing to cut up to 250 jobs, including nurses, midwives and clerical staff, amounting to five per cent of its workforce.

Eugene Doherty, president of LMTUC, said: “Everyone from Lancaster and Morecambe will be welcome on our march to save the hospital.

“We will also welcome people from Barrow and Kendal.

“We do not want to see a single cut to our health service. Cuts to jobs and services will lead to increased pressure on hospitals and staff who are already stretched to breaking point. The NHS is something we should be proud of.”

The event will start at 11.30am in Dalton Square, and will march through the city centre. A rally will follow.

The Lancaster District Pensioners Campaign Group is also supporting the march.

Spokesperson Margaret Jones said: “The LDPCG are backing the TUC’s march and rally because it is vital that we protect our local health services. “There are over 40,000 pensioners in the Lancaster district and we need our NHS.”

The pensioners group said it is also concerned about the restructuring of dementia care for the elderly which could see the closure of local centres.

Jean Taylor, a retired health worker said: “A public national health service providing local services is essential for the well being of the community, so it is important that we support this march.”

A retired surgeon, who did not wish to be named, said he was “dismayed” at the threat to medical secretary jobs because of the crucial role they play supporting surgeons and physicians, and helping patients and their families.