Over 800 people gathered in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, last Saturday to demonstrate against proposals to close the local hospital’s accident and emergency department.
Bishop Auckland is surrounded by rural communities and protesters fear that lives will be lost if people have to travel further for emergency care.
The town’s general hospital was opened in 2002 at a cost of £67 million, funded through a PFI scheme. Its foundation stone was laid by Tony Blair who called it a “flagship hospital”.
Since then wards have been closed, maternity services moved away and paediatric emergency care reduced to daytime only.