Campaigners call for action over plans to cut beds at Bolton hospital

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RESIDENTS in Bolton have set up a petition to campaign against potential plans to cut 50 beds at Royal Bolton hospital.

Campaigners from Bolton Save our NHS group have criticised plans to downsize the hospital through the Bolton Locality Plan, a proposal for the future of health in Bolton over the next five years, and in response are planning regular protests.

Fears the hospital will declare regular ‘black’ alerts should the number of beds be reduced is a real concern for patient safety, claim campaigners.

A ‘black’ alert is raised if there are not enough beds for patients needing emergency care and so have to be diverted to other hospitals in the area.

All regions in Greater Manchester will need to have their own locality plans as part of the devolution process, and the Bolton Locality Plan includes plans to downsize the hospital and reduce hospital based care.

Christine Howarth, 71, who launched the petition, said: “The latest petition, as this is the second one we’ve had, is about black alerts, which is the point at which the hospital has no beds and if you come forward you’re going to be diverted.”

“Our petition is that they review the proposal to cut beds and review the decision to cuts in the service as this will be an on-going petition.”

Kayden in Stockport didn’t get his operation in time and died. He was only 20 months old. In February, a coroner reported to NHS that a lady in Surrey, who had a brain hemorrhage, had approached three hospitals and there were no beds, so she died.”

At a public meeting called by Bolton Save our NHS group at Friends’ Meeting House in Silverwell Street in March, campaigners urged that more needed to be done to address their concerns over the plans and potential cuts.

“The hospitals have been on black alert quite a few times so at the latest CCG meeting we put a question to them saying if there were black alerts throughout the North West sector at the same time, you could end up in the position that the lady in Redhill was, with a tragedy,” says Christine.

Christine added campaigners will continue to add to the online petition by handing out petitions on the streets of Bolton to raise awareness of the potential changes to the hospital.

Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group were contacted for comment.

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