HAVING spent a great deal of effort informing people by poster and flyer about the otherwise inadequately- publicised East Cheshire NHS Trust public consultation on the permanent closure of the Tatton Ward, I would like to thank the people of the Knutsford area for the grand turnout last week.

St John’s Church Hall was crowded on January 21 with people who seemed keen to have our local NHS facilities retained and returned. Some agreed to leave early to allow others to also have their say.

Since a public consultation is about consulting the public and acting upon what they say they need, I believe that meeting formed the first step in the retention of intermediate care facilities within the local area – if that is what we want. But we will have to make that very clear!

The Tatton ward building has stood empty for more than two years, I believe for no good reason.

It was a purpose-built facility (1996) which was well run by caring staff, and very well thought of in the area.

It offered simple nursing for local people, particularly the elderly, in a place where their recovery could be supported by friends and relatives.

We now need many more people to attend the final two meetings at Knutsford District Community Hospital, 7pm to 8pm on February 4, and at Wilmslow Leisure Centre, 11am to 1pm on February 6.

The closure of Knutsford’s Tatton ward has had a knock-on effect on intermediate care right across Cheshire East, with both the Langley Unit/Ward 10 at Macclesfield (100 per cent) and Aston Ward Congleton, (97 per cent) being full to overflowing even over last summer.

Public transport to both towns from Knutsford is poor to non-existent. Many family carers are elderly and do not drive.

With people still moving into the Knutsford area, and a rapidly growing older population, if our local services are allowed to vanish at just the time when we most need them, how will our family carers cope?

We need to help ourselves, by making it very clear what services are essential.

Please, will you take part in this public consultation? If you cannot attend the last two meetings, will you please e-mail the Trust at ecn-tr.

Tatton@nhs.net, or write to Tatton Ward Consultation, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield. SK10 3BL – as a matter of urgency – to give your point of view.

My contact details are, e-mail charlotttepetersrock@tiscali.co.uk, phone 0156 572 2738.

CHARLOTTE PETERS ROCK Cheshire Area for Cheshire Action