AN ONLINE petition designed to safeguard Broomfield Hospital against proposals to downgrade its A&E services has received almost 10,000 signatures.

But Tory MP for Chelmsford, Sir Simon Burns, allayed public concerns by saying the Court Road hospital’s A&E department will not be downgraded as part of a major NHS shake up.

The petition, aimed at Sir Simon, was created in late November by the city’s Defend Our Accident and Emergency campaign group (DOA&E), an offshoot of Momentum.

Sir Simon said: “The very basis of the petition is factually incorrect because Broomfield A&E is not being downgraded.

“Broomfield will continue to have an A&E, ambulances will still take patients there, and members of the public will still be seen.

“As anyone who has bothered to read the proposal will know, Broomfield will maintain its services and it will not become a simple walk-in centre.

“The only difference we will see is that specific hospitals will have specialist departments, for instance burns and plastic surgery patients will come to Broomfield.”

Despite Sir Simon’s promises campaigners continue to garner support.

DOA&E members gathered further support via a paper petition in Chelmsford High Street on Saturday (December 10), and received a further 500 signatures.

The paper petition - which calls on Chelmsford Council to weigh into the healthcare debate – gathered 500 signatures in 90 minutes, according to the group.

Chris Vince, Chelmsford’s 2015 Labour candidate was one of those who took to the streets.

He said: “The amount of support received from the public has been fantastic.

“It is clear that the future of Broomfield A&E is a very important issue to everyone. “We have already seen the closure of walk in centres like Springfield and any cuts to the A&E department at Broomfield would have huge consequences.”

DOA&E spokesman Andy Abbott added: “It demonstrates the people of our city and the mid-Essex area overwhelmingly oppose government cuts to our accident and emergency services.”

“The much longer extra journey time to Basildon in an emergency along congested roads, is going to cost lives.

“Cuts kill, and this knowledge is seeing local people sign our petitions in unprecedented numbers.”

The paper petition is going to local health bosses with copies being presented to Chelmsford City Council before its cabinet meeting on the 24 January.

Campaigners will first meet at 6pm near the Shire Hall before marching on the Civic Centre, according to Mr Abbott.

Campaigners will be back in the High Street (near Lloyds) on Saturday afternoon (17 December) to collect more signatures.