I WOULD like to make the following points to all members of the public, and, particularly, employees of Hereford County Hospital who did not attend the Unison meeting at Hereford Shirehall on October 7.

It is already common knowledge that the hospital has applied to become a foundation trust.

To achieve this, the hospital must be debt-free but it was announced some months ago that the Trust was £2 million in debt and, to rectify this situation, the equivalent of 75 full-time jobs would be axed.

Surprise, surprise, this statement has now proved to be wholly inaccurate. The figure is now £5 million, which could mean more than 180 jobs under threat.

Could it be that the decision to close the hutted wards finally, with no mention of what will happen to the displaced beds and staff, be connected?

With the announcement that CEO David Rose is also jumping ship', the future looks anything but assured for this particular hospital.

I would urge all staff and patients to start asking serious questions about the future plans for the hospital in Hereford. Downsizing is a dangerous route and will only lead to downgrading the hospital services and status. Who in Herefordshire and Mid-Wales would want to travel to another county for treatment?

Finally, a little known fact was highlighted at the meeting. When Labour came to power 10 years ago it stated that one of the three hospitals in Hereford and Worcester would be closed. Hereford was saved at the expense of Kidderminster that time but, with no possibility of returning a Labour MP in Hereford, I suggest that the current situation be ignored at our peril.

It is up to us to make the government realise that the people of this county need their hospital and all the services it currently provides.

ROGER CORBETT, Backbury Road, Tupsley.