HUNDREDS of people are expected to march from Barry Hospital to a rally in King Square to defend the threatened Sam Davies acute rehabilitation ward from closure.

Barry healthcare workers will be joined this Saturday, October 5 by patients’ families, local people and the first person born after the NHS was founded, Aneira Thomas.

She will also address the rally.

Unison Cymru Wales, which has organised the mass protest, said 12,000 people have signed its #SaveSamDavies petition.

The trade union has promised a colourful, carnival atmosphere.

The Sam Davies Ward has 23-beds for older people and its rehabilitation assistance includes helping those who have had strokes and respite care for dementia patients.

It recently won a Carer Friendly Silver Award and UNISON questions why the health board wants to close a prize-winning ward.

Aneira Thomas, the first person born in the NHS, said: “The NHS I was born into knew the value of quality health services caring for local communities.

“Closing the Sam Davies ward and forcing acute rehabilitation patients and families miles away to Llandough hospital and the Heath is the opposite of those founding ideals.

“The health board’s proposals have caused a great deal of worry for Barry people.

“Healthcare workers in the Sam Davies ward are compassionate and dedicated and it’s simply not right to close it. This is a vital service.”

Unison Cardiff and Vale health branch chairman, Stuart Egan said: “The health board’s plans have been a mess from the start.

“They didn’t speak to Barry Hospital staff and they didn’t consult with the local community.

“The Sam Davies ward has been praised by Carers Trust South East Wales as a “shining example of great person-centred care, for both patients and their carers. They really go the extra mile...”.

“It beggars belief that the health board want to close it.

“12,000 local people have sent an overwhelming signal they are opposed to the plans by signing UNISON’s #SaveSamDavies petition.

“Please come and join Barry healthcare workers on Saturday’s march and rally.

“Together we can prevent the ward from closing.”