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Victory shows "power and influence" of the press

The Argus in Brighton has won a hard-fought and lengthy campaign to keep breast cancer care services in the city.

The campaign was launched a year ago when it was announced that the Nigel Porter Unit was too small to expand and would be transferred 17 miles away to Haywards Heath.

The Argus rallied support, pointing out patients from the Brighton area – the vast majority using the unit – would find it both difficult and expensive to travel to a new unit and lives could be put at risk.

The paper collected 30,000 signatures on a petition in just 11 days before the closing date for comments.

Supporters included surgeons, cancer experts, politicians, patients and the man after whom the unit had been named.

The paper also helped find an alternative site in the city which health bosses were eventually persuaded to consider and was voted for unanimously by members of Brighton and Hove City Council and the city’s three MPs.

Earlier this year, both that site and the one in Haywards Heath were given planning permission for the new unit.

At the same time, the Johnston Press weekly title, The Mid Sussex Times, launched a campaign directly against The Argus’s.

Then, last week, members of the Brighton and Hove City and Mid Sussex Primary Care Trusts decided to develop the new unit at the Brighton site.

The paper’s editor, Simon Bradshaw, said: “I am especially delighted for our reporter Karen Hoy who thought up the campaign and ran it tirelessly.

“Even though she was on holiday when the final decision was made, she went with the campaigners to the meeting.

“It proves the power and influence of local papers and their journalists when they work with and for their communities.

“As I’ve told Karen, what made this especially pleasing was that it was a campaign that made a real difference – helping to save lives.”

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