Suffolk NHS worries raised in Commons

SUFFOLK Coastal MP John Gummer was today set to go head-to-head with government minister Patricia Hewitt over the county's health crisis in a special debate in Parliament.

SUFFOLK Coastal MP John Gummer was today set to go head-to-head with government minister Patricia Hewitt over the county's health crisis in a special debate in Parliament.

With details of new cuts to services emerging virtually daily, the health secretary was being challenged to explain why she was allowing the situation to continue - and not stepping in to write-off NHS debts.

Mr Gummer was due to put his questions in the House of Commons and said the blame for the health crisis should be laid firmly at the government's door.

“It's my constituents who don't have the Bartlet Hospital. It's my constituents who cannot get a bed in Ipswich Hospital,” said Mr Gummer.


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“And it's not their fault - it's the fault of the way the government has run the system, under-funded our area and then blamed its own appointees.

“I am fighting for the interests of my constituents who are no less angry now than when all this first started, and we cannot let ministers get away with it.”

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He was appalled at the intervention in the debate by Labour Party chairman Hazel Mears, and said hospitals were not being closed on the basis of need or for health reasons, but for political reasons.

Mr Gummer's main concern was still the funding of the health service in the county, claiming that Suffolk Coastal was still getting less per head than many other parts of the country, despite its older population with far more needs for health care.

The criteria for working out how much money the Primary Care Trusts should receive needed to be changed.

He would also be calling for the regional health authority to be axed, which would provide a considerable sum of extra money which could be given to the PCTs for medical services.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk

What should the government do about the NHS debts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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