Herald comment: the fight for the future of the DGH

In the end, it was the only sensible move but how it still hurt. The decision by the Save The DGH campaign group to abandon its legal challenge against the loss of services, cut deep into the veins of all those who had fought so valiantly.

In reality, this phase of the campaign had already been bled dry. The December vote by the all-powerful health overview and scrutiny committee (HOSC) was a fatal blow. Campaigners knew that day that health provision in our town would never be the same again.

MP Stephen Lloyd took the battle 0nce more to Whitehall and a courageous woman to whom the town owes so much, Liz Walke, even offered to remortgage her house to help fund a judicial review.

The council, too, was prepared to put in £40k of funding, although whether all ratepayers would have supported that is debatable.

So the will was there. In the end, so was the commonsense.

The very real fear is that this downgrading is the thin end of the wedge. That the DGH will one day be little more than a community or geriatric hospital.

In response to this week’s news, the health trust talks boldly of retaining two “vibrant hospitals” for 2013 and beyond. We shall see. This is a major battle lost. A defeat we hoped we would never witness. But the fight is not yet over.