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GPs are claiming victory in a long-running battle to save community hospital services.

Threatened cuts to GP-run wards and an orthopaedic and stroke unit at Evesham Community Hospital by South Worcestershire PCT have now been withdrawn.

GP-led opposition to the plans culminated in a 3,000-strong town centre rally and a petition signed by 30,000 patients delivered to 10 Downing Street.

Dr Neil Townsend, a GP in Broadway, Worcestershire, who spearheaded the campaign, said the main objectives of the local GPs had been achieved: 'The deciding factor was the strength of feeling in the community.'

The news came as Conservative MPs tabled an early day motion on the threat to a further 30 community hospitals in England.

The number of threatened hospitals may be as high as 150 nationwide, they said, despite a Labour manifesto pledge to build community hospitals at 50 new sites.

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