With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I beg leave to present a petition on behalf of the inhabitants of the town of Congleton and the surrounding area. The petition has been beautifully gathered and splendidly prepared and is brilliant in presentation.
The petition showeth
That while recognising the need for a new geriatric unit at the Congleton War Memorial Hospital, your petitioners object to the removal of the maternity unit and the further erosion of other services. Your petitioners believe that the maternity unit and the general medical and surgical services at the Memorial Hospital should be further developed to serve the expanding community.
The Congleton War Memorial Hospital was built with money raised by public subscription after years of fund raising by local people as a memorial to those who died in the First World War.
It was opened in 1924 by the Duke of York, later King George VI, and has continued to serve the town of Congleton—first granted its charter more than 700 years ago—the neighbouring town of Biddulph, in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Knox), and the surrounding country areas, some of them lying in the constituency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies).
The people of Congleton are very concerned that the hospital should not become merely a geriatric unit and are particularly anxious that the modern maternity unit and other medical facilities and services should not be closed and removed elsewhere.
This petition has been signed by 15,500 people, representing 75 per cent. of the voters on the electoral roll of the old borough of Congleton, and by several
thousand people from the surrounding area. Among the most enthusiastic supporters of the hospital are the local general practitioners, who know the value of the unit where they can visit their patients so easily in the course of their normal rounds.
Wherefore your petitioners pray that the House do all in its power to influence the Secretary of State to ensure that the maternity at the Congleton War Memorial Hospital is retained and that this unit of the general medical and surgical services at the Congleton War Memorial Hospital are further developed to serve the expanding local community.
And your petitioners as in duty bound, will ever pray.