David Cameron tells Star of NHS woes

OPPOSITION leader David Cameron backed The Evening Star campaign to Save Our Angels as he arrived on a fact-finding tour of Ipswich Hospital today.

OPPOSITION leader David Cameron backed The Evening Star campaign to Save Our Angels as he arrived on a fact-finding tour of Ipswich Hospital today.

The Tory leader began a tour of East Anglian hospitals at Heath Road and accused the Labour government of targeting hospitals in areas like Ipswich for political reasons.

He said: “Funding of hospitals like Ipswich is a very important issue for the future of the NHS. What we are seeing is that funds are being allocated for political reasons and not necessarily because that is where they are needed.

“I am coming to Ipswich to speak to Andrew Reed (hospital chief executive) about the pressures he is facing.” Mr Cameron said there was nothing he could do about the situation while his party was in opposition.

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He said: “Sadly I can't wave a magic wand because we are not in government, but campaigns like your petition have really shown up the strength of feeling there is on this issue and I can help to highlight the problems faced by the hospital.”

The Star's Save Our Angel's campaign calls to stop the immediate culling o specialist and other nursing posts from Ipswich Hospital, and is being supported by hundreds of readers.

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Labour has claimed the Conservatives would cut health spending if they were returned to power but Mr Cameron felt his party had nothing to be defensive about.

He said: “We have heard all this before. Labour said before the 1997 election that voters had 24 hours to save the NHS. But the Conservative government up to that time never got rid of 350 jobs at Ipswich Hospital.”

After visiting Ipswich, he was travelling on to Bury St Edmunds and Huntingdon where other hospitals are facing similar financial crises.

Mr Cameron also spoke about Ipswich Conservative Association's process of selecting a candidate for the next general election.

A new standard-bearer for the party is expected to be chosen later this year, and there has been controversy in Essex after a senior Tory MP warned that the candidate for Witham was likely to be a “middle-class, white, male.”

Ipswich is a target seat for the Conservatives, and local members are likely to come under pressure to select a candidate from the party's “priority” list which seeks to increase the number of Tory MPs who are women or from ethnic minority groups.

Mr Cameron said today: “When members of the Ipswich Conservative Association do chose a candidate it will be the best possible person to fight the seat and represent the town.”

Weblinks: www.conservatives.com; www.ipswichhospital.org.uk

n Would a Conservative government be better for Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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