WHEN you read this week’s amazing news story about the future of Acer Ward, please note that, though it is my soundbite, I am only summarising for The Hunts Post what everyone who has stepped forward and spoken out against the ward’s closure has been campaigning hard for

It is so wonderful to learn that our concerns did not fall on deaf ears and to know that Huntingdonshire District Council feels so strongly about Acer Ward.

From the beginning we have been aware that, since mental health conditions rob all of us of our voices at times, we have spoken for many.

As it has emerged that the 'proposed' systems of delivering acute mental health services to people in Huntingdonshire have already been put into action by CPFT, contributing to the public consultation has at times seemed pointless.

I have felt this powerlessness time and again over the last few months. But every time I've thought 'what's the point?' or 'it won't make any difference', someone has told me that they too find the closure of Acer Ward so wrong or I've heard a story that has reminded me why I felt so impelled to speak out in the first place.

Unfortunately, however many people agree with the sentiments I and others have expressed, unless this is recorded within the consultation process it won't count. The deadline for comments to reach the public consultation is midnight next Monday, January 16.

We really need to keep hammering home the widespread public outrage with all our powerful views, straight to the heart of this consultation.

If you also disagree with the closure of Acer ward, please show your support by filling out the consultation questionnaire at http://www.cambridgeshire.nhs.uk/Have-your-say/proposed-redesign-of-mental-health-services-in-cambridgeshire-and-peterborough.htm or by sending your views by e-mail to: c-pct.mhyourviews@nhs.net or by post to: FREEPOST, RSCR-GSGK-XSHK, NHS Cambridgeshire, Lockton House, Clarendon Road, Cambridge CB2 8FH. You can also sign an online petition at http://www.petitiononline.co.uk/petition/acer-ward-closure-at-hinchingbrooke-hospital/3732

We spend our time and energy registering our opinion on much lesser things - X Factor and Strictly spring to mind. As I've said before, I would encourage everyone to have their say. Whether you have an experience of needing to access mental health services or not, with one in four people suffering mental health problems at some point in their lives, you never know when it might be you, or someone close to you, who will require them.

Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who has shown an interest in this important local issue and to The Hunts Post for following and supporting our campaign - it is truly appreciated.

LIZ STOKES

On behalf of all Save Acer Ward campaigners