Protestors' anger over Aylsham NHS cuts

Cries of “shame” and “how can you sleep?” erupted from the public gallery after health chiefs voted to close Aylsham's hospital.Hospital campaigners turned out in force to lobby and barrack the PCT meeting - waving placards and making impassioned pleas during a public question-time session.

Cries of “shame” and “how can you sleep?” erupted from the public gallery after health chiefs voted to close Aylsham's hospital.

Hospital campaigners turned out in force to lobby and barrack the PCT meeting - waving placards and making impassioned pleas during a public question-time session.

Nearly half the 100-strong audience were from Aylsham, where St Michael's has been singled out for closure.

Many of them travelled to the meeting on a “battle bus” provided by the town council. The journey there was a chatty charabanc outing. The journey home was subdued, like a football team who had just lost a match - except this was a town which is set to lose its historic and once nationally renowned hospital.

Afterwards town council chairman Liz Jones said they were “angry and frustrated” and felt ignored by a whitewash. But they would continue their fight, by taking the decision to the county's health scrutiny committee over concerns that it went against the views of local GPs who said the beds were needed.

Local GP David Harrison said he had no faith in the closure move.

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The replacement home care system saw patients getting visits of between 10-30 minutes, and some being put to bed at 4.30pm.

Mid Norfolk MP Keith Simpson last night called for a new public meeting in August to identify health services wanted by health professionals and townsfolk in the hope of salvaging something from the “rump” of St Michael's.

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