THE campaign to save Pendle Community Hospital is gathering pace with 5,000 people having pledged their support.
Health campaigners have been inundated with signatures for their petition to save the Nelson hospital, which provides in-patient rehabilitation care for mainly elderly stroke sufferers.
Bosses at NHS East Lancashire said they would listen to concerns if the campaign collected 5,000 signatures.
Pendle Coun. Eileen Ansar, who has been at the forefront of the campaign, said: “I want to thank the people of Burnley and Pendle for their fantastic response to this campaign.
“We were set a challenge and we have hit our target. Now we are setting the officials a challenge in seeking an urgent meeting with the PCT and acute trust to discuss the hospital’s future and the services it provides.
“We will keep on collecting signatures and campaigning against these daft proposals.”
Azhar Ali, former chairman of Burnley NHS Trust, added: “Five thousand is just the start in trying to keep our hospital open and securing local services for the people of Burnley and Pendle.
“If Blackburn PCT can seek local services for their population, then the same rules should apply to services at Burnley General and Pendle Community Hospitals.
“People are sick of cuts to local services and that’s why people of all ages and backgrounds have signed our petition. What this Tory Lib-Dem Government is proposing in the new health bill could be the kiss of death for local community hospitals and that’s why our fight has only just begun.”
On Friday Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson was to meet managers at NHS East Lancashire to discuss the commissioning of services and the future of Pendle Community Hospital.
Mr Stephenson said: “I am a strong supporter of health services being delivered at local level.”