Campaigners have announced plans to protest over the potential merger between Burton’s Queen’s hospital and Royal Derby Hospital. The protesters are members of East Staffordshire Trade Union Council and have said they want to fight the move. They have now organised a rally in Burton to make their points.

The group includes members from the East Staffordshire Trade Union Council, Unite Community and Burton’s Keep our NHS Public branch.

They have raised a number of concerns about the proposed merger, which chief executives of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Helen Scott-South and her counter-part at Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Gavin Boyle confirmed would see Derby “acquire” Burton.

The move was unveiled at a public meeting to discuss the proposals on July 4, where it was also confirmed that final planning for the move would be submitted and reviewed in November this year.

Affected hospitals include the Royal Derby Hospital and Queen's Hospital, in Burton, along with a number of community hospitals under the respective trusts umbrellas, including Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in Tamworth and Samuel Johnson Community Hospital, in Lichfield which belong to the Burton trust.

Now the group has raised a series of potential issues members are concerned about if the merger goes ahead.

It has been confirmed that the A&E department at Queen's hospital in Burton will remain open
The A&E department at Queen's Hospital in Burton will remain open

They have raised concerns over potential issues:

  • Loss of services at Burton Hospital;
  • Threats to staff jobs;
  • Terms and conditions concerns;
  • 'Lack of transparency in the process'
  • 'Increased levels of privatisation';
  • Pressure on hospital services at both Burton and Derby.

Chairman of East Staffordshire Trade Union Council Paul Walker is one of the organisers of the rally and said: “In processes like this it is important to be open and transparent with the public. Telling them exactly what it means for them."

He claimed: “When you talk to the people on the streets of Burton about this they are horrified. It is important that both trusts engage more with the public and do not just pass them off with the same bravado that you see at every consultation meeting.

“People are shocked at this takeover and were supportive of our planned action. From the people that I spoke to last Saturday, there was a sense of relief that people are willing to stand up and fight this.”

When asked if he believed the merger could potentially be stopped at this point, Mr Walker responded: “We feel that this is a very big question to answer and the most certain response is that it would be unsure to say. There may be concessions made, it may stay in its current format, it may not happen at all.”

On Saturday, August 5, the group will hold its rally at the Washlands following a ‘bed push’ from Belvoir Road, next to Queen’s Hospital.

Protesters will be gathering on Belvoir Road at 11am near to Queen’s Hospital and will follow a hospital bed which will be pushed from the hospital to Meadowside drive, in the town centre.

The route for the march will go along Belvedere Road onto Dallow Street, then to Waterloo Street, Barkley Street, Derby Street and along Station Street.

A rally will then be held on the Washlands between Burton Library and Meadowside Leisure Centre, where a series of speakers have been confirmed including Steve Thompson, from Unite the union's national executive committee, Chris Williamson MP for Derby North who was elected in the 2017 General Election and Staffordshire health campaigner Gail Gregory.

Grace Petrie, a Leicester-based folk-singer and activist who has performed at Glastonbury and events to support Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be performing to close the rally.

Other speakers include Sarah Carpenter, the national health officer for Unite, Lee Baron, the regional secretary of the Midlands TUC and others from East Staffordshire Trade Union Council and Unison.

Representatives from Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have confirmed that they are aware of the group's concerns and are planning on addressing the points raised.

If you are looking for any more information about the rally, a Facebook event has been set up with all the information regarding the day, which can be found online at . Alternatively you can email .