HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital found its way on to the floor of the Commons last week. Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, whose South Cambridgeshire constituency includes Papworth, Caxton and Cambourne, accused the Government of putting finance before patie
HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital found its way on to the floor of the Commons last week.
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, whose South Cambridgeshire constituency includes Papworth, Caxton and Cambourne, accused the Government of putting finance before patients.
He was opening a noisy Opposition Day debate on the National Health Service, in which he welcomed increases in the numbers of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, but bemoaned the fact that many were losing their jobs because of NHS deficits.
Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, accused the East of England Strategic Health Authority of pursuing a "slash-and-burn policy" on the Government's behalf that had resulted in the threat to Hinchingbrooke.
Mr Lansley rejoined: "Patients from my constituency go to Hinchingbrooke Hospital. It is disgraceful that 'reviews' should be taking place that are, in fact, driven by finance.
"Because of a £233million deficit (across the East of England) the strategic health authority will decide which hospitals stay open and which are shut. That is a disgrace.
"In a year or two, services will be shut down by the strategic health authority but, in subsequent years, we will have to re-establish them because they are required to meet the needs of patients."
Mr Lansley blamed the quality of management at the top of the NHS for what was going wrong - and praised NHS staff as the service's greatest asset.
"I believe in the NHS and I believe in what NHS staff can achieve," he said. "But they can do so only if we give them the framework, the resources and the freedom to deliver."
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said there were 32,000 more doctors in the NHS than in 1997, 85,000 more nurses, and 300,000 additional health service staff in total.