Mole's sadness after Darzi departs

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has spoken of his disappointment after a Government minister who was lined up to meet consultants from Ipswich Hospital to discuss its future resigned.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole has spoken of his disappointment after a Government minister who was lined up to meet consultants from Ipswich Hospital to discuss its future resigned.

Health minister Lord Ara Darzi announced his intention to quit on Tuesday night saying he wanted to spend more time working as a surgeon and doing academic research.

The 49-year-old was appointed in June 2007 and led a comprehensive review of the NHS, High Quality Care for All, which concluded with a ten-year plan for the future of the health service.

He had been due to come to Ipswich at the invitation of Mr Mole to meet more than 100 consultants from the town's hospital who have voiced fears about its future.

The group had signed a letter, printed in the Evening Star, saying they were “increasingly concerned at the current and future plans for the gradual loss of specialist services from the hospital.”

Mr Mole had said Lord Darzi would be able to “relate to them as clinicians about why the NHS is driving these sorts of changes and understand whatever concerns they have.”

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Yesterday Mr Mole said he had learned about Lord Darzi's resignation on Tuesday night shortly before it was made public.

He said: “Ara has been a great minister and I was hoping he would be able to make a useful contribution to the debate about the future of the hospital.

“I'll continue to talk to the hospital managers about the best way to set the forward direction for the hospital over the coming years and hopefully that will engage and enthuse the hospital consultants.”

Mr Mole said he had no immediate plans to invite anyone in Lord Darzi's place and added: “There isn't another Ara Darzi, he is a very special man who was a great asset to the Government in the sense of being a minister with direct clinical experience.”

Lord Darzi will officially standing down as health minister when parliament goes on its summer break later this month.