31 January 2006
Boris Johnson MP: We Must Hold Hewitt to her Word
Boris Johnson MP, yesterday welcomed the Health Secretary’s apparent U-turn on Community Hospitals.
In a statement to the House on the Government’s Health White Paper, Patricia Hewitt said:
‘Some primary care trusts are planning to close local cottage hospitals. Where these closures are due to facilities that are clinically not viable, or which local people do not want to use, local reorganisation is right. But community facilities that are needed for the long term must not be lost in response to short-term budgetary pressures. So we will expect primary care trusts to reconsider such proposals against the principles of the White Paper’1.
Commenting on this, Boris Johnson MP responded:
‘This sounds like the first good news we have had for a long time, and I hope that Patricia Hewitt will make sure that is indeed good news for the people of Henley.
She has made it absolutely clear that community hospitals cannot be closed for short-term cash-saving reasons.
Since the Townlands hospital in Henley is both immensely popular and of huge medical benefit to the population, we must hope that the authorities have no alternative but to keep it open.
But I am not counting my chickens, and all of us who have fought to keep Townlands going – including thousands of Henley Standard readers – should know that the struggle is by no means over.
We are going to keep up the campaign until we have a clear vision for the future of health care in Henley, and one about which we can all unite. And that vision must include Townlands.