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[13 JAN 99]  POLITICS NEWS
Nellist Holds Hospital Public Meetings

Coventry Socialist councillor Dave Nellist has launched a series of public meetings which he hopes will educate people on the disadvantages of having no city-centre hospital.

Last night Nellist chaired a meeting in Earlsdon, which was attended by around 40 people, and he says it is the first of many.

"Rather than have one big public meeting in the city centre, we have decided to have several smaller ones on the outskirts of the city to make sure people are aware of what’s going on," he said.

"At the meeting last night everybody who spoke was in favour of having a city centre hospital, and most people agreed that the ideal thing would be to modernise and keep both hospitals.

"If that is not possible and we have to choose one of the two sites then I believe the people of Coventry want it to be in the city centre and we intend to make sure everyone has the chance to have their say."

Nellist believes there are several reasons why relocating the whole of Coventry’s hospital facilities to the Walsgrave site would be the wrong decision, and believes many of them are not widely known.

He said:

"Last night I talked about the fact that closing the two hospitals would reduce the city’s bed capacity by 200 and I think a lot of people present were hearing that for the first time.

"When you couple that with the fact that around 853 full time positions will go into the private sector so you will not see an NHS porter, cleaner or caterer around the hospital you can see why this has not been highly publicised."

Now the Socialist city councillor is hoping that he can raise awareness enough in the remaining time to give the Health Authority a difficult decision.

He said:

"There are 44 days left and I intend to make sure there are hundreds more responses which will mean that to keep to their decision the Health Authority will have to fly in the face of Coventry public opinion."

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CWN / Politics / 13 Jan 99 / Nellist Holds Hospital Public Meetings

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