Parkinson's campaigners help save Lightburn Hospital
Winning a fight to save your local hospital takes time, commitment and energy. Doing it twice in 7 years, while living with ever-advancing Parkinson's, requires superhuman reserves of determination and resolve.
Yet that's exactly what members of the Parkinson's UK Lightburn Glasgow East Support Group have achieved.
News came late on Friday that for the second time local campaigners have persuaded the Scottish Health Secretary to overturn a Health Board decision to shut Lightburn Hospital.
"We were always hopeful that the hospital would survive," says Gerry McCann, chair of the local group and leader of not 1 but 2 successful Save Lightburn Campaigns.
Vital resource for people with Parkinson's
"The hospital is much loved and highly valued by the local community," says Gerry. "It's where our group meets and is the last remaining inpatient facility in the East End of Glasgow - one of Scotland's most economically deprived communities.
"People here face disproportionate levels of poor health and it just seemed very wrong for the Health Board to make vital services even more difficult to access."
Despite local concerns the Health Board confirmed its decision to close the hospital last Autumn. "That was the spark that really ignited the campaign," says Gerry. "Local people, galvanised by terrific support from local politicians from all parties, swung into action.
Parkinson's UK backing
"We were backed too by the fabulous team at Parkinson's UK in Scotland - they were always there for us and their advice and support was invaluable and much appreciated. The Save Lightburn Campaign thanks everyone who supported us.
"We met with the Health Secretary and made a strong and sensible case for retaining the hospital. I'm delighted she listened to us and came to the right decision."
And what next for Gerry and members of the group? Gerry says: "We've spent so much time and energy fighting for the survival of our hospital it'll be great to getting back to the usual business of groups.
"Activities, outings, fundraisers and speakers all need to be organised. The words 'business as usual' have never sounded sweeter!"
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