Suffolk MPs receive petition of 1001 signatures to save local NHS

Tuesday, 4 July, 2006

Two dedicated local health campaigners, Richard Spring, MP for West Suffolk and David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds met the Rev Jonathan Ford outside Parliament yesterday to collect a petition of 1001 signatures. The petition was protesting about the unfair funding from the Government for the local NHS in Suffolk.

After concerns expressed about the local health service by so many parishioners David and Richard had a public meeting, organised by Mr Ford and other clergy, in January to discuss the worrying multi-million pound deficits in the Suffolk NHS. Mr Ford explained at the meeting that the clergy were regularly dealing with members of their congregations worried about the effect of the large deficits on the provision of health services for themselves and their families. This Suffolk petition reflects real anxiety, based upon many individual conversations and experiences.

In a joint statement, Richard and David said:

'This is the first time in memory that the clergy of Suffolk have become involved in a campaign to try to ensure the future of our local health services. Anxious parishioners in every village have made their concerns abundantly clear by signing this petition- 1000 people in Bury St Edmunds and West Suffolk.

'We will be sending the petition directly to the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt MP, to make her clearly aware of the depth of feeling among residents in Suffolk about the damage being done to the local health services due to the unfair level of funding from the Government.

'We greatly fear for the full range of NHS services that are currently delivered at West Suffolk Hospital. Therefore we will continue to monitor the situation closely in the future.'