Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

NHS tried to halt A&E petition

NHS bosses have admitted trying to halt a petition against changes at a Nottinghamshire hospital.

Town councillor Laurence Goff has collected 5,000 signatures on a petition against plans to remove the A&E department at Newark Hospital.

Mr Goff says he was put under pressure to quit the petition, ahead of a public meeting about the issue, but refused.

NHS Nottinghamshire County said Mr Goff was asked to suspend the petition because it was "misleading".

'Scaremongering' denial

A 90-day consultation is under way to look at proposals to replace the department with a minor injuries unit.

They say specialist treatment could be better provided at larger centres.

But union Unison said the change would put pressure on already stretched facilities at the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham.

Mr Goff's petition read: "Do not downgrade Newark A&E."

A spokesman for NHS Nottinghamshire County said: "We asked Mr Goff to suspend his petition until the public meeting as we felt it was misleading, but he chose not to.

"We felt the petition was misleading because it doesn't set out the full picture in relation to the fact that Newark Hospital will in fact increase in activity under our proposals.

"It's not a full A&E at the moment, we're just calling it what it already is."

Mr Goff denied he was "scaremongering".

He said: "People know what they're reading, they are very concerned Newark A&E will be no longer and people are up in arms.

"People do not want to travel 25 miles for emergency treatment."

A public meeting organised by Newark MP Patrick Mercer will be held later.

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