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29,000 reasons to rethink health cuts.

HEALTH chiefs planning controversial cuts at Nuneaton's George Eliot Hospital have seen the full weight of public opinion land slap-bang on their doorstep.

A petition bearing 28,636 signatures - one of the largest ever mustered in the town - left bosses in no doubt about the level of feeling.

And they were warned: "Ignore this, and it's war."

Leading opponents, including Nuneaton MP Bill Olner and North Warwickshire MP Mike O'Brien, handed over reams of petition forms yesterday beneath the statue of the Nuneaton novelist who gave the hospital its name.

The petition was signed by people across Nuneaton, Bedworth, Atherstone, Hinckley and rural north Warwickshire - the hospital's catchment area.

Under the plans, Nuneaton will lose its special care baby unit and some children's services, and emergency operations at weekends and at night will be transferred to University Hospital, at Walsgrave, Coventry.

The consultation period ends this week - and opponents hope the near 29,000-name petition will give the review team food for thought when they sit down to finalise their plans.

CAPTION(S):

PETITION... With the signatures are (from left) Len Willetts, Barry Longden, MPs Mike O'Brien and Bill Olner and Chris Bain, chairman of the Warwickshire PCT
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 21, 2006
Words:198
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