Talk to us Tony about the health service

WITH Suffolk's health service facing catastrophic cutbacks to slash debts of more than £70million, The Evening Star today has just one question for Tony Blair - Is the health service getting better?While on the campaign trail just weeks before this May's general election Mr Blair asked himself the same question during an interview.

WITH Suffolk's health service facing catastrophic cutbacks to slash debts of more than £70million, The Evening Star today has just one question for Tony Blair - Is the health service getting better?

While on the campaign trail just weeks before this May's general election Mr Blair asked himself the same question during an interview. His answer was “I think it is.”

But less than six months after coveting our votes the prime minister's government is now overseeing crippling cash cuts to rein in Suffolk primary care trusts' debts.

Mr Blair will today set out a platform of “bold and radical” New Labour reforms designed to strengthen Britain's economy and public services in his keynote speech to Labour's annual conference in Brighton. Mr Blair will tell delegates that the challenges which Britain faces demand a response which is “not less New Labour but more New Labour”.


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We asked for Mr Blair's views on the current crisis in a letter dated August 9. When his reply came 41 days later, it pointed to the massive government investment and reforms in the National Health Service.

Mr Blair also wrote, “I am confident that these improvements will continue”, before stating the need to stay within a budget.

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How on earth can you call decimating Suffolk's health services by shutting hospitals, closing wards and presiding over job losses among doctors and nurses, an improvement?

Let us tell you of some of the things that have happened while you have been away.

n When you made an official visit to Rome in late May, the staggering scale of NHS' true debt in Suffolk was about to be revealed.

n Shortly after you visited Washington for talks with President Bush on July 9, two directors of Central Suffolk PCT resigned in a row about spending at Ipswich Hospital

n While you were in Singapore to back London's Olympic bid, four Suffolk GPs warned patients will suffer if drastic cutbacks go ahead.

n During your holiday in Barbados in August, staff at Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital were handed cards giving them tips on job-hunting

n When went to China on September 5 and 6 as part of a trade, sport and culture delegation the Evening Star published 20 unsatisfactory answers from the Department of Health to questions we had submitted after health secretary Patricia Hewitt turned down our request for an interview.

n The following two days you went to India for more trade talks, while in Suffolk plans to merge the current five PCTs were revealed to mixed reaction from health campaigners.

n The week after 500 protestors marched through Sudbury this month in a bid to prevent the proposed closure of the town's Walnuttree Hospital, you went to New York for a United Nations summit.

You have even found time to hold a high-profile reception in Downing Street for England's cricketers after their Ashes victory against Australia.

Now Mr Blair, surely it is our turn to have your attention.

The Evening Star is calling on you to set aside time for a full and frank interview about the future of Suffolk's NHS.

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