A regional daily has been praised in the Commons for ‘doggedly seeking out facts’ over plans to close a psychiatric unit on its patch.
The Burton Mail launched its ‘Save Our Stanhope’ campaign earlier this year in a bid to save the inpatient unit.
Burton Tory MP Andrew Griffiths singled out Mail journalists for praise after securing a parliamentary debate on the issue.
He said editor Kevin Booth had created a campaigning daily representative of local people, and also praised chief reporter Adrian Jenkins for ‘doggedly seeking out facts’.
Mr Griffiths told MPs: “I should mention the invaluable contribution of the Burton Mail, a well respected local newspaper that covers both East Staffordshire and South Derbyshire,” he told the House of Commons.
“It has led the campaign and represented the views of local people extremely well having brought the matter to their attention.
“I pay particular tribute to the reporter Adrian Jenkins, who has doggedly sought out the facts, and Kevin Booth, who, in his time as editor of the Burton Mail, has turned it into a campaigning newspaper that is properly representative of local people.”
The MP said the Mail had played a key role securing the signatures of 7,500 readers for its anti-closure petition. South Derbyshire Tory MP Heather Wheeler also praised the paper’s ‘campaigning work’.
South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have launched a three-month public consultation on mental health beds by saying their ‘preferred option’ would be to axe the Margaret Stanhope due to a shift towards community care.
But the Mail insists the unit must stay open to serve patients for whom care in the community ‘is not only unsuitable but could be dangerous’.