Bishop backs Stafford Hospital protest song
A Church of England bishop has rallied behind a protest song against cuts to services at Stafford Hospital.
Maternity and A&E services are facing the axe at the hospital.
Local mother of two Clare Palmer wrote the song "50,000 people can't be wrong" after a rally in support of maintaining the services drew large crowds last month.
The Bishop of Stafford, the Right Reverend Geoff Annas was a speaker at the rally and is encouraging people to buy the song, which has been released on iTunes and Amazon.
He is hoping the song will get into the charts and raise awareness of the campaign to save the hospital services.
"It's a great song, but greater still is the solidarity of the people of Stafford in backing the hospital," he said.
Speaking at the 'Night of Light' protest gathering on Saturday, the bishop expressed his frustration at Stafford Hospital becoming a byword in the media for problems in the NHS.
"Clearly they had no idea or understanding of the good things that are happening in our hospitals or an awareness of the brilliant and dedicated staff who serve us so well," he said.
"More and more we hear of hospitals from across the country that are failing to provide the kind of service that is expected of them and are facing huge financial problems. Stafford is sadly beginning to been seen as just one of the first of many.
"I believe that we have provided something of a 'Wake Up Call' to the people of this country. The whole of our NHS is at risk and certainly it would appear from recent reports that A & E in many hospitals is in melt down."
The bishop warned that cuts to services at hospitals in Stafford Cannock would place an unsustainable burden on other hospitals having to take up the extra workload.
"I have been in the North Staffs Hospital in the past week. I have been told of exhausted and over-worked staff who are at the end of their tether. We expect our doctors and nurses to look after us – but in the NHS today exactly who is caring for the doctors, nurses and support staff?" he said.
He compared the Night of Light event to the Christian idea of Jesus as the 'Light of the World' and the bringer hope.
"But for people of all faiths and none, the thought of a bright light piercing the gloom is one that can be easily understood" he said.
"Stafford and Cannock Hospitals are now providing a bright light in the darkness that is the breakdown of our National Health Service.
"Those appointed as our administrators have the opportunity to affirm the good work that is already happening here and to invest in an even brighter future.
"They are in a position to make Stafford and Cannock Hospitals trailblazers for the whole of the NHS."