Campaigners working to support Beverley Hospital were shocked on Saturday when hospital staff threatened
them with police arrest during a peaceful protest.
About 40 members of the public from Churches Together in Beverley, political parties and trades unions gathered to give the hospital a symbolic hug but were told that if they walked onto Trust land the police would be called and they could be arrested.
A breakaway group of about 20 people, then walked to the front of the hospital where the protesters mounted a silent protest.
A police vehicle then arrived and they were eventually persuaded to withdraw. No arrests were made.
Speaking today, the co-ordinator of the new Friends of East East Riding Community Hospital Jackie Heffer said,
‘The response from the Trust was extremely disappointing. The demonstrators turned up to show that we care for the hospital and staff to be met with aggression and dismissiveness. It didn’t seem real. To threaten a group of church-going ladies and vicars with police arrest when all they wanted to do was show their support was quite bizarre.’
The Rev. John Beynon, who is a chaplain at the hospital and who attended the event said. ‘To be told we weren’t welcome when all we wanted to do was give the hospital a symbolic hug was was really bizarre. It takes a brave security guard to threaten Beverley ladies with police arrest. I’m glad it all went off peacefully.’
Theresa Vaughan from Save our local NHS Hull and East Yorkshire also attended. Speaking today she said, “The reception we got was shocking. We were met by hostile threats from staff members who told us that we were intimidating patients and obstructing direct access to the out of hours service. The only people who were shouting were staff members not campaigners.
The Hospital management turned a show of public support for the NHS into a fiasco by telling everyone they were trespassing on private property. It worries me that staff seem to believe the site is already privatised. We will do all we can to continue with our campaign and will be keeping a very close eye for further developments.’