16 November 2005
Boris Johnson MP steps up campaign to save local Community Hospitals
Boris Johnson MP, attending yesterdays Westminster launch of the Community Hospitals Acting Nationally Together (CHANT) group , denounced the Government’s failure to investigate and halt what now appears to be a nationwide programme of community hospital closures. As Vice-Chairman of the group, Boris Johnson MP called on all those present to work together, along cross-party lines, to co-ordinate efforts at a national level to better fight the closure of community hospitals throughout the country.
At a meeting held beforehand and chaired by the Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley MP, to discuss the problems facing community hospitals, Boris Johnson MP lambasted the current lack of accountability of regional ‘health quangocrats’ to the needs and views of local people:
‘It is utterly infamous that the views of local communities are being ignored. In almost all these cases the move towards care in the community is being driven not by best practice or clinical need but by the desire to balance the books and write down Primary Care and Strategic Health Authority deficits. Community hospitals are at the front line of these cost cutting drives despite the fact they play a vital intermediate care and step-down role. Local people want them, District Hospitals need them, yet nationwide over 80 of these community hospitals are being threatened with closure. Worse, no-one is taking any responsibility for these decisions. Government passes the buck to the Health Authorities who in turn pass it to the Primary Care Trusts who then pass it right back to the Government. At the end of the day though, the Government appointed these unelected quangocrats to their posts and the Government must now explain their actions’.