As a very active volunteer for the Westminster Memorial Hospital Save our Beds Campaign (SoB!), I was pleased to be invited to a ‘thank the volunteers’ event last night in the Trinity Hall in Shaftesbury.
The hall was packed with almost all of the 200 or so volunteers attending.
It was great to see and feel the good will and determination of a large group of people from all around Shaftesbury and local areas brought together by a single issue – that of stopping the closure of the beds in our local hospital.
The effort put into the campaign to save the beds over the last few weeks produced a fantastic result. 5,345 completed public consultation documents had been handed in to the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group from Shaftesbury alone. Out of a total of 18,522 online and paper submissions for the whole of the county of Dorset, SoB! gathered just about 29% of the total. A remarkable achievement!
And that is why the volunteers deserved such a vote of thanks last night. They were the ones that gave the people within the hospital catchment area such a powerful voice.
The SoB! founder, Julian Prichard, (or a Tigger/Zebedee hybrid as Cllr Anthony Austin put it in his speech) deserves the thanks of the whole town for ‘herding the cats’ so successfully.
As to the future, we believe that the initial results of the consultation will be published sometime in June, with any decision regarding the hospital beds being made in early September.
But SoB! will not be standing idly by awaiting any decision from the CCG, there are events being planned to keep the public aware of the issue over the coming months – WATCH THIS SPACE!