Whittington campaigners celebrate as Health Secretary declares closures 'inconceivable'.

CAMPAIGNERS opposing plans to slash services at the Whittington Hospital celebrated yesterday after Health Secretary Andy Burnham said it would be inconceivable for a Labour government to close or downgrade A&E or maternity services at the site. Mr Burn

CAMPAIGNERS opposing plans to slash services at the Whittington Hospital celebrated yesterday after Health Secretary Andy Burnham said it would be "inconceivable" for a Labour government to close or downgrade A&E or maternity services at the site.

Mr Burnham has said he will order of complete halt of the plans, his comments echoing those already made by health minister Mike O'Brien in saying there is no compelling clinical evidence in favour of downgrading services at the hospital, as has been proposed by managers at North Central London NHS.

At yesterday's rally outside the hospital's main entrance, Shirley Franklin, joint chairwoman of the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition hailed the announcement as a victory for now, although she said Mr Burnham's comments were undoubtedly made because the general election is upon us.

She said: "The Whittington is saved for now, definitely. But we are going to stay in existence to make sure they keep their promises."


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Talking through a loud speaker, coalition member Dave Morris said: "Let's keep our campaign going until the government backs down on all cuts to NHS services."

A spokesman for North Central London NHS said: "There are no plans to downgrade A&E or maternity at the Whittington. Any options for changes to services at the Whittington would have to have clinical backing and there would be a full public consultation before any changes were made.

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