Lister Campaign: 5,500 sign up

MORE than 5,500 concerned Comet readers have signed the petition to keep emergency services at Lister Hospital and now one of television s longest-serving newsreaders is backing the campaign. Following plans for a new super-hospital in Hatfield being scra

MORE than 5,500 concerned Comet readers have signed the petition to keep emergency services at Lister Hospital and now one of television's longest-serving newsreaders is backing the campaign.

Following plans for a new super-hospital in Hatfield being scrapped, acute and emergency services will be centralised at either Lister Hospital in Stevenage or the QEII in Welwyn Garden City.

One hospital will receive a cash boost of around £200m and one will be left with a scaled down A&E.

Richard Whitmore, Hitchin resident and former newsreader for the BBC, said: "The location of Lister was one of the most sensible decisions taken when Stevenage was planned.


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"It is ideally placed for most of the major communities in North Hertfordshire and for the busy A1(M) which is one of the most heavily congested traffic routes in the country.

"In the past 30 years all those communities have increased dramatically in size so in my view it would be a dangerous folly to move the emergency services to a far less accessible area.

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"I urge everyone to take part in The Comet campaign and sign the petition."

Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, is also backing our campaign.

She said: "I would like to reassure readers I am fully committed to maintaining the provision of both acute, as well as accident and emergency services at the Lister.

"I share the concerns of local residents that any downgrading of services at this site would be a retrograde step, undermining the interests of many of my constituents.

"I am fully signed up to the campaign to safeguard the future of Lister and will continue working with my fellow parliamentarians on this issue.

"I have also made representations on this issue to the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt."

In less than two weeks, more than 5,500 readers have come forward to be counted in the petition to save Lister's emergency services.

And some readers have gone that extra mile to secure signatures from others.

Derek Clarke, a member of Stotfold Salvation Army, has collected more than 80 signatures at the group's recent meetings.

And the Rev John Luscombe has collected more than 60 signatures from his parishioners at St George's Church in Common View, Letchworth GC.

A spokesman for the church said: "Copies of the petition form are kept in the church and petitioners are signing them. We are pleased with the number of people who are supporting this campaign."

Barbara Follett, MP for Stevenage, and her team of campaigners have also secured a further 300 signatures to add to their original collection of more than 1,000.

The Labour party will be collecting signatures at a stall outside New Look in Stevenage town centre this Saturday, starting at 10.15am.

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