Cameron's NHS concerns
LIFE at Ipswich Hospital was returning to normal today after the flurry of excitement caused by the visit of Conservative Party leader David Cameron.Mr Cameron visited the hospital to see for himself the problems faced by the Trust which is £24 million in debt and shedding 350 staff in an attempt to make ends meet.
LIFE at Ipswich Hospital was returning to normal today after the flurry of excitement caused by the visit of Conservative Party leader David Cameron.
Mr Cameron visited the hospital to see for himself the problems faced by the Trust which is £24 million in debt and shedding 350 staff in an attempt to make ends meet.
And his visit also provoked an immediate response from Ipswich MP Chris Mole - who arrived at Heath Road before Mr Cameron to respond to some of his claims about the health service in the town.
Mr Cameron arrived nearly an hour late after problems on his train from London - but as soon as he arrived he went in to see senior staff on the Saxmundham orthopaedic ward and the medical assessment unit.
Mr Cameron met Dr David Hodgkinson, director of the emergency medicine, and Mike Shanahan, director of orthopaedics and trauma, as well as hospital chief executive Andrew Reed.
After his meeting, Mr Cameron said it was clear that Ipswich Hospital was facing a serious shortfall, especially because cuts were being made while demand for its services was increasing.
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He said: “I have been to the medical assessment unit where, because the GP out-of-hours service is not functioning in the way it used to and because community hospitals are closing, there are 20 per cent more patients being seen.
“The hospital is facing cuts at a time when it is having to do more work. This is a serious situation and it must be put right for the future.”
He insisted there was no “magic wand” that he could wave to help hospitals like Ipswich, and gave no assurance that an incoming Conservative government would write off its debts.
However he did say that the government was being unreasonable in expecting the hospital to clear its debts in such short time - and without any reference to the pressures it was facing.
Mr Cameron repeated his claims that the hospital had been undermined by political pressure, and that the government's nine major health reforms in nine years had added layers of bureaucracy to the service.
However Mr Mole insisted that the NHS had been boosted massively since Labour returned to power in 1997.
He said: “There are now more people working in the health service than ever before, and contrary to what the Conservatives claim they are not all administrators and managers.
“The ratio of administrators to doctors and nurses is now smaller than it was when we came to power in 1997. That is because Labour has recruited more doctors and nurses. How many more medical staff would the Tories have been able to afford if they had been in power over the last nine years?”