Thousands Join Hospital Cuts Demo

About 27,000 people joined a march on Sunday protesting at hospital cuts in Cornwall, campaigners have said. The one-and-a-half mile march through the centre of Hayle started at St Michael’s Hospital at 1700 BST, and was described as good-natured.The hospital is threatened with closure as the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust tries to make savings because of a forecast deficit of £31m. The trust says it is looking at several options to reduce the debt.

They include the possible closure of St Michael’s Hospital, the loss of the emergency department at West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance, or cuts in wards and services at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro.

Campaigners are calling for an independent review of hospital services in Cornwall.

Organisers of Sunday’s march said there was massive support from people keen to show their resistance to the loss of hospital services. One of the organisers, Jeremy Joslin, said: “This sends a message that this is the wrong thing to do.

“We cannot have a policy of knee-jerk reaction and just say slice, slice, slice.

“We are expanding jobs and people exponentially in Cornwall and we’re having hospital services cut away, it just doesn’t make sense.”

He said the march was good-natured with a “summer festival atmosphere”.

“It has been a marvellous atmosphere, everybody has worked together and everyone is smiling,” he said.

He said people from all over Cornwall had made the journey to Hayle to join the demonstration with coaches from across the county arriving with marchers from towns including Saltash, Newquay, Bodmin and Penzance.

The Lib Dem MP for St Ives Andrew George was among the speakers addressing protestors ahead of the march.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said it had no official estimate for the number of people who joined the march.