Hundreds of Worksop residents attended a public meeting to voice their concerns about “life endangering” cuts to Bassetlaw Hospital children’s ward.
The meeting, hosted by Bassetlaw MP John Mann at Worksop Miners’ Welfare, centred around the closure of the children’s ward to admissions overnight.
This means any child requiring overnight care will have to travel nearly 20 miles away to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, a move which Mr Mann says is “illogical and unsafe”.
The MP said: “Bassetlaw parents know what their children need. They know that having to take their children to Doncaster, Sheffield or further afield late at night is illogical and unsafe.
“The power of the testimonies we heard at the weekend cannot be underestimated, as we know exactly how dangerous the closure is.
“I met with the people who run the hospital this week and reiterated that they are putting lives in danger and they need to reverse their decision immediately.
“Across the country the NHS is under attack. We must ensure that our NHS is safe.”
A second meeting was also held at Retford Town Hall.
A Facebook group opposing the cuts has reached more than 10,000 members and there are further meeting planned at the end of March.
Mike Pinkerton, Chief Executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals, said: “We have worked in partnership with the CCG to ensure we maintain a safe and effective service for the people of Bassetlaw and surrounding areas.
“It would be simply unsafe to admit children when we do not have sufficient doctors or nurses to look after them.
“Although we have no choice but to end overnight stays for sick children at the hospital, the Trust plans to maintain paediatric services at Bassetlaw, as exemplified by our very recent investment of £278,000 to provide purpose-built children’s outpatient facilities.
“Many of these changes will in fact enhance the care we offer to our patients.”
Laura and Ben Bradshaw are one of many parents who attended the meeting.
The Worksop couple have a son, George, who was born at the hospital prematurely.
Though George is now doing well, he still has breathing problems and the couple are concerned about what will happen if he becomes ill in the night.
Laura said: “The fact that a 24 hour children’s ward was on our doorstep was very reassuring. Children can become ill at any time so the fact there is now no overnight care is concerning.
“There’s a difference between medical help being five minutes and more than half an hour away.
“Apparently the staff are already stretched at Doncaster, so we don’t see how this is a practical solution.”