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Stafford Hospital protest camp digs in for the summer

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: July 21, 2014

  • Protester Julian Porter outside the hospital

  • BBC Radio Stoke broadcasts from the protest camp

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SUPPORT Stafford Hospital campaigners are planning a summer of protests at the hospital site, after setting up camp in the grounds.

More than 30 hardy campaigners protesting at plans to move NHS services out of Stafford braved thunderstorms and soaring temperatures at a protest camp outside the hospital, after around 100 turned out to support the start of the camp on Friday.

They have set up Support Stafford Hospital banners and a giant placard saying "Here to stay - TSA go away". And campaigner Julian Porter said they were considering staying put for the whole summer.

"We are getting great support from the public and from members of staff at the hospital," he said. "People have been bringing us food and wishing us well.

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"As it is the school summer holidays now we could well be here until September."

Mr Porter said he had been contacted by Stafford police, and reassured them that it was a small-scale protest. "They were worried that because the Support Stafford Hospital campaign has gone viral on social media we would have Swampy turning up," he said.

Meanwhile Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust chief executive Maggie Oldham also telephoned Mr Porter - and offered the protesters the use of the hospital's toilets.

The campaigners are protesting at controversial plans to move some services out of Stafford Hospital when the Mid Staffs Trust is dissolved in November. They say the loss of services including maternity and paediatrics could put lives at risk if patients have to travel to Stoke or Wolverhampton. And they claim the shake-up fails to take into account Stafford's housing growth and the arrival of the MoD's giant Beacon Barracks in the town.

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