CAMPAIGNERS fighting for the future of Halstead Hospital say they are over the moon after councillors pledged to support their efforts.

Halstead Town Council met on Monday and agreed to show their support for the Halstead Hospital League of Friends.

The League of Friends voiced concerns over the hospital’s future in an open letter last month.

The hospital’s ward closed in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, with its facilities being transferred to Braintree Community Hospital.

In March 2021, Provide, which runs the hospital, introduced ‘virtual wards’.

It meant patients were sent straight home from the secondary care hospital, instead of spending time at Halstead Hospital.

The League of Friends, which is a charity funded by residents, claims the move saw some staff resign or retire.

In the letter , the group said the role of Halstead Hospital ward now “is very uncertain for the future”.

They claimed there are three possible outcomes, including closing the hospital altogether as well as returning to being an intermediate community care hospital or becoming a stroke unit for Mid and South Essex.

But now the campaigners have been given a boost by Halstead Town Council, which voted in favour of supporting the group’s bid to save the hospital.

Halstead councillor Jackie Pell, abstained from the vote because she has also served as the league’s vice-chairman, but was pleased with the outcome.

Now she says residents should make their voices heard to save the hospital.

She said: “The council are going to write a letter supporting the league.

“Halstead Hospital is owned by the league and we spent a lot of money recently doing up the wards.

“It didn’t doubt he council’s decision because Halstead’s people are so committed to the hospital and its future.

“The league needs people to write to the minister, their MP, their councils because its their hospital and their money.

“They need to lobby anyone they know can make a difference.”

League of Friends chairman Dr Alan Symington added: “We are very pleased the town council is supporting Halstead Hospital.

“We are very much behind the town council supporting us.”