Over 1,800 people marched in Chorley last Saturday demanding their local hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E) department is reinstated.
Large contingents of Unison union members and other supporters joined local hospital workers and campaigners.
Hospital bosses in Lancashire have “temporarily” downgraded the A&E to an “urgent care service”, which only deals with minor injuries.
Pete Smith, the Central Lancs Unison health branch secretary (pc), told Socialist Worker, “The fight for Chorley is a key battle to save the NHS from these government vandals.
“What’s happening in Chorley is symptomatic of what’s happening to the rest of the NHS.”
The march was led off by a deafening drive-through of over 100 motorcyclists.
Chants of “Save our A&E, save our NHS” were accompanied by a defiant ringing of all the local church bells.
Speakers included local Labour MP Lindsay Hoyle, Unison North West regional convenor Paula Barker and Andy Birchall from the Protect Chorley Hospital Campaign.
To thunderous applause, Andy announced that the campaign was not going away until the A&E department was fully reinstated.
Campaigners have been protesting outside the hospital every weekend since the A&E was downgraded in April.
Andy told Socialist Worker, “The real stars of our campaign are those who have never campaigned before, especially the women.
“They are fearless in their demands to protect their families, community and our NHS.”