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Victory for newspapers in hospital cuts campaign

Health service bosses have backed down on plans to cut hundreds of jobs at a North London hospital after campaigns by four local newspapers.

The independent Camden New Journal and Islington Tribune and Archant’s Hampstead and Highgate Express and the Islington Gazette all launched campaigns against proposals for Highgate’s Whittington Hospital.

Health bosses wanted to sell off nearly half the hospital site and cut hundreds of jobs, but have now backtracked on this.

As part of the campaign, the Camden New Journal and Islington Gazette helped organise a demonstration outside the hospital with a ‘battle bus’ used in a similar campaign against hospital cuts three years ago.

Only Fools and Horses actor Roger Lloyd-Pack shows his support for the Camden New Journal and Islington Tribune's campaign.

The independent weeklies launched their campaign after chief reporter Tom Foot brought the cuts to public attention.

Camden New Journal deputy editor Richard Osley said: “This is great news. We’d like to thank everybody who backed our campaign, came to the meetings and marched behind the New Journal battle bus.

“The people of Camden, Islington and Haringey have shown they will not just have changes to one of the fundamental resources in their community dictated to them.

“These plans should have been out there in the open from the start. Tom and the editorial team did exactly what we need our local newspapers to do and are out there holding public bodies to account. We were happy to get stuck into a campaign which has delivered a welcome result.”

The hospital has now confirmed there will be no bed closures or significant reduction in permanent staff at the hospital over the next five years, although a staffing review will take place over the coming months.

As part of the Journal and Tribune’s campaign, they canvassed high-profile support, including from actors Dominic West, Roger Lloyd-Pack and Juliet Stevenson, film director Stephen Frears and singers Annie Lennox, Ms Dynamite and Alexandra Burke.