I should like to present a petition from the people of County Durham to save ward 6 of Bishop Auckland Hospital. Bishop Auckland Hospital is extremely popular with local people, and consequently 14,196 people have signed this petition. It was a surprise when the proposal to close ward 6—a 24-bed ward with 30 nurses working on it—was put forward. No clear justification has yet been made for the closure. If it is because the management believe that care would be better delivered in the community, they should be putting more money into the district nurse team. They are not doing that, which leads us to believe that this is a straightforward funding cut.
The petition states:
The petition of residents of County Durham,
Declares that the government’s policy of underfunding the NHS, our country’s most valued institution, is leading to the closure of Ward 6 of Bishop Auckland General Hospital.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Department for Health and Social Care to fund the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust sufficiently to prevent further closures to services, including those in Ward 6.
And the petitioners remain, etc.