CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating an "early Christmas present" after winning the battle to save a Glasgow hospital.
As revealed in the Evening Times last night, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has overruled the health board to keep Lightburn Hospital in the East End open.
She said no case for closure had been made and instead listened to the opinion of local people, patients and medical opinion who argued closure was wrong.
Politicians, GPs, patients and support groups had opposed the closure which would have seen services transferred miles away to the Royal Infirmary and Stobhill Hospital
Gerry McCann, of the East End Parkinsons Group, started the campaign.
He said: "Common sense has prevailed. I am delighted by this decision and by the Health Secretary listening to local people and medical opinion.
"People told me when we started we were wasting our time, but that has not been the case.
"This is probably the best Christmas present the people of the East End have had in years."
Labour and SNP politicians both welcomed the news.
Paul Martin MSP for Glasgow Provan, and Glasgow East MP Margaret Curran campaigned to keep the hospital open and Mr Martin had called on Ms Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament to stop the health board plan.
He said: "I am delighted the Health Secretary has at long last halted the closure.
"I will now be seeking an urgent meeting to make sure that the services that were being run down by the health board are restored.
"I am pleased that the uncertainty that has surrounded this decision for so long is finally now over."
Glasgow SNP MSP Humza Yousaf also welcomed the decision.
He said: "From a petition signed by 14,000 people to a number of well attended marches and rallies, the Save Lightburn Hospital campaign group, led by the East Glasgow Parkinson's Support group, has been well organised and this decision is a testament to their hard work."
Many of the patients treated at the hospital suffer Parkinson's Disease, while others are recovering from strokes and post operative trauma.
Katherine Crawford, Parkinson's UK Scotland manager said: "We are delighted to be able to celebrate this early Christmas present for the people of east Glasgow.
"This decision will make a huge difference to hundreds of people affected by Parkinson's, and to the wider community.
"People throughout the East End value Lightburn Hospital, and were extremely concerned about what would happen to people who needed care if these services were ripped out of the area."
The health board said it would go back to the drawing board with plans for older people while keeping Lightburn open.
A spokeswoman said: "We have received confirmation from the Minister for Health of her decision not to approve our proposals for inpatient rehabilitation services for the east of Glasgow. The board sought to achieve a balance between the delivery of high quality inpatient care while maintaining locally accessible day care and outpatient services and felt that the proposals put forward would deliver this.
"We will, however, revisit our plans for older peoples' services within the east of the city to ensure that we can deliver sustainable services with Lightburn Hospital as a vibrant component of this."