Now it's your turn to say – Hands Off!

TODAY, every Edinburgh resident is being asked to make a difference by declaring – Hands Off the Sick Kids.

Volunteers are out and about across the city collecting signatures for Ross Newlands' petition, which has been backed by the Evening News.

Whether you are in Princes Street, at Tynecastle, or in shopping centres such as Ocean Terminal, Cameron Toll, The Gyle, or Meadowbank, there will be the chance to lend your name to the campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Several pubs, restaurants and shops have agreed to put our posters in their windows and make petitions available. And if you do not see one of our volunteers, there are also forms available to be downloaded from our website or cut out of our paper.

We have been overwhelmed with the strength of feeling in support of the Sick Kids and inundated with letters, e-mails and phone calls from members of the public.

But the best way to send a clear message to the Scottish Parliament is to gather as many signatures as possible.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon must decide on whether to centralise specialist children's cancer and neurology services.

She told Parliament this week that she expects to receive the report by the end of the month and will then decide whether the vital services should be removed from Edinburgh.

Former brain tumour patient Ross, 16, said: "I would urge anyone if they see someone with a Sick Kids petition to please sign it.

"I know how important this issue is from my time at the Sick Kids hospital and I do not want to see services lost.

"I hope that children in Edinburgh who develop brain tumours in the future can be treated in their home city as I was, and do not have to travel far away from their friends and family."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Scottish Government has stressed it has made no final decision on the future of the services and that its priority will be ensuring children receive the best possible treatment.

NHS Lothian has said it is awaiting the Government's decision and is hopeful the new Sick Kids Hospital, which is expected to be built in Little France by 2012, will contain the same expertise and range as the present one.