On a mercifully bright Saturday afternoon (July 16) the Lydney Hospital Fete was held and a considerable number of people attended.

Being earnestly devoted to keeping the hospital, together with The Dilke under the control of the NHS, we, The Forest Against the Cuts group, decided to take our petition forms there to advise fetegoers that, as from this autumn, the two hospitals are scheduled to leave the NHS and come under private control, therefore no longer directly accountable to the public.   

It seemed that a vast majority of the public did not know about this and were keen to sign our petition forms.  There were a considerable number of comments such as "To think of all the money and effort we have put in, for the sake of the hospital, paying for extensive extra equipment and facilities etc."

We had heard similar complaints when we attended The Dilke Fete a few weeks previously.   Many made such remarks as: "They cannot do that, as much of the hospital was paid for out of peoples' wages, the miners having had money stopped from their pay."


At Lydney however, a few – thankfully not many – of the people who one would have thought would give us the most support, The Friends of Lydney Hospital, were against us being there. 

One lady came up to me and said that I was on private ground. Of course I was quite pleased to be able to assure her that, as a regular taxpayer, I am, in fact a part owner in the NHS and therefore the hospital, until it is taken out of public control, which we hope will be never.

Other "Friends" tried to assure us that the proposed, takeover isn't settled yet. But we understand the date to be October 1.

We wondered why the few Friends who objected to us being there did so, when we are only doing what they profess to have been doing for many years now. Why didn't they raise a petition instead of leaving it to us?

Are they prepared for all of the work they have put in and the money the public have paid, to be passed out of public hands and democratic control into the hands of a questionable 'Public Enterprise' organisation where staff numbers and quality standards may very well be much lower and nurses' remuneration less?

Would I be wrong in mentioning Grass Cutting? 

We received a big welcome at The Dilke Fete although it was a day of poor weather.

I can advise that, despite the minor intrusions at Lydney, we did very well there and collected a considerable number of signatures.

We now have a large number of completed forms and are still getting them filled.

May we continue to have our hospitals under the democratic control of the NHS.

– Claude Mickleson, Lych-Gate Mews, Lydney.