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Hospital services rally crowd sends clear message

THOUSANDS of people gathered to protest against what they believe are cuts in hospital services at their local hospital.

Around 2,500 people turned out to the Save Maidstone Hospital Services Rally at Mote Park, Maidstone, on Saturday, organised by the Kent Messenger and the Downs Mail.

People of all ages braved wet and windy weather to send their message loud and clear to hospital bosses - that they didn’t want to see any services reduced at Maidstone Hospital.

The crowd - many carrying banners and posters - cheered and clapped as senior consultants, doctors and councillors gave their reasons for opposing the planned changes.

And there was a resounding cheer of "Aye" and unanimous show of hands as Kent Messenger senior editor Bob Bounds put a motion calling for an end to reductions in services at Maidstone Hospital to the crowd.

Speakers, who were introduced by Downs Mail editor-in-chief Dennis Fowle, were consultant surgeon Marie South; Dr Chris Thom, consultant physician at Maidstone Hospital; Dr Roger Hart, secretary of the Maidstone division of the British Medical Association; Dr Tony Hulse, deputy medical director of the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust, who announced he was resigning his management position; Hugh Robertson, Faversham and Mid Kent MP (Con), and leader of Maidstone Borough Council, Cllr Eric Hotson (Con).

The case against the changes was set out with some heart-felt comments from the speakers, who explained their opposition on medical and practical grounds and on future considerations for Maidstone’s growing population.

The event also included a silence in memory of fund-raiser and health campaigner, Peggy Wood, who died last week.

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