The Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band led the way as Keep Wythenshawe Special campaigners marched, turning Wythenshawe streets into a sea of white balloons and white t-shirts.
And, in a remarkable show of cross-party unity, Labour and Conservative MPs shared a platform at the rally that followed at Civic Centre.
The Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign was launched following the outcome of the Healthier Together consultation into the future of health and social care in Greater Manchester. The planned downgrading of services at Wythenshawe Hospital could cost lives, campaigners say.
In the latest development – on Monday this week – a High Court judge, having considered the legal challenge mounted by campaigners to plans to downgrade Wythenshawe Hospital as a specialist centre for general surgery – has now agreed a judicial review can take place, raising the possibility of the decision being reversed.
Here is the statement from the Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign:
Monday, November 9, 2015
Today we have received notification from the High Court of Justice that the judge has considered our legal challenge to Healthier Together over plans to downgrade Wythenshawe Hospital as a specialist centre for general surgery and has agreed the case for a judicial review.
It means that we can now challenge to have the decision reversed. We believe it is vindication that we were right to question the process by which the commissioners at Healthier Together made their decision to overlook Wythenshawe Hospital.
We would like to thank hospital colleagues, our local MPs Mike Kane, Graham Brady and Kate Green and the community of south Manchester who have stood firmly with us in challenging what we and they always believed was a flawed decision. Indeed, on Saturday more than 1,200 of them joined us in a March and rally in Wythenshawe town centre to voice their concerns.
Of course this is just one step in what we are sure will be a long and costly process but our Keep Wythenshawe Special campaign is entirely self-funded, and we are determined to see this through to what we hope will be satisfactory conclusion for all the patients we treat and care for, not just in south Manchester but in the wider Greater Manchester population.