Top Tory backs hospital campaign

A SENIOR member of David Cameron's shadow cabinet yesterday accused the Government of short-sightedness by downgrading medical facilities in Suffolk at the same time as it was demanding the county builds the equivalent of a new Bury St Edmunds in housing.

A SENIOR member of David Cameron's shadow cabinet yesterday accused the Government of short-sightedness by downgrading medical facilities in Suffolk at the same time as it was demanding the county builds the equivalent of a new Bury St Edmunds in housing.

Caroline Spelman, the shadow secretary for communities and local government, gave her support to the campaign by Heartbeat East Suffolk to turn Ipswich Hospital into a coronary intervention centre.

“I don't think that anyone in the health service has analysed just what the impact of downgrading Ipswich Hospital,” said Mrs Spelman.

“In the next 15 years, Suffolk is being expected by the government to accommodate house building equating to the current size of Bury St Edmunds. Yet the county is being starved of a proper infrastructure to deal with such an edict.

“Rural roads are not the greatest and to expect ambulance to take people all the way to Norwich to be treated for a suspected heart attack is utter nonsense.

“Ministers do not take into account the long distances involved for patients and relatives - Suffolk is not London or Birmingham which have access to several teaching hospitals.”

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Mrs Spelman, who was accompanied by Ipswich Conservative parliamentary candidate Ben Gummer, met members of East Suffolk Heartbeat, led by its vice-president Len Tate.

The shadow minister ruled out any change to the structure of local government in Suffolk and Norfolk if the Tories win the next election. “We can't afford another upheaval. Replacing counties and districts with unitary councils is not on our agenda.”