Poor turnout at public meetings

BARELY a handful of people have turned up to public meetings arranged to explain plans for the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Only two non-NHS people attended the first meeting, and the best attendance to date was 15 at an event in St Neots, said Kare

BARELY a handful of people have turned up to public meetings arranged to explain plans for the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Only two non-NHS people attended the first meeting, and the best attendance to date was 15 at an event in St Neots, said Karen Mason, who is organising the sessions for Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust.

Written responses were now starting to arrive at the trust's Fulbourn headquarters, and reaction was overwhelmingly supportive of the PCT's plans for saving virtually all services at the hospital.

Hospital board members, senior clinicians and top-ranking PCT officials have been on hand at the series of public meetings but have ended up, as often as not, talking to each other. Hinchingbrooke's board is concerned it is missing out on vital public feedback because of poor attendance, but it is more likely people are happy to grab the take-it-or-leave-it proposals after the risk of major cuts receded.

Trust chairman Sue Smith said many of those who did attend represented large numbers of people.