CHILDREN are in the spotlight in the latest phase of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign against downgrading services at the town’s hospital.
The Stafford branch of the National Childbirth Trust is joining forces with the protesters to organise a Fun in the Field event at the hospital protest camp on Bank Holiday Monday.
The event, which runs from 12 noon until 4.30pm, includes games for children, plus a climbing wall, bouncy castle, a barbecue, cake stall and live music.
The NCT will be running its own information tent, with members on hand to talk to families about baby and child care.
And campaigners are expecting to be joined by staff from the hospital’s maternity unit and children’s ward to talk about the implications of the proposed shake-up of hospital services.
The campers are also expecting to welcome supporters from other hospitals around the country that are facing controversial cuts and changes to services.
“Since we started the camp we have discovered just how widespread the threats are to the NHS across the country,” said campaigner Lee Middleton.
“We feel that Stafford should be the basis of a national campaign.
“We are being contacted every day by people in other towns and cities who are losing crucial services without any say in the matter.
“If you’re fighting it on your own, you feel like an ant facing an elephant. But if we band together we can be a whole colony of ants - and we can bite back.”
Protesters say that moving specialist paediatric and maternity services out of Stafford would lead to parents and children facing longer, inconvenient and potentially life-threatening journeys to hospitals in Wolverhampton and Stoke.
And the NCT has accused NHS managers of betraying a department of Health pledge that women should have a choice of where to give birth.