Sir George disappointed with consultation paper on local health services
7 Jun 2000
Responding to the public consultation document “Meeting the Challenges” Sir George Young, Conservative MP for North West Hants, said that the document exposed the huge gap between the rhetoric of the Government, and the reality of the position on the ground in North and Mid Hampshire. “In his Budget, Gordon Brown announced an extra two billion pounds for the NHS in the current year. I welcomed that, and hoped that would provide the background to a document indicating how services locally might be expanded and improved. Instead, we have a document that focuses exclusively on how money might be saved (pages 23-29). At no point in the document is there any indication of how the new money announced in the Budget might be invested to improve services. It is being used to halve the deficit.”

Sir George is also concerned at the implications for Social Services in the document. “The document says they want to end bed blocking, and want to develop more appropriate care in the community. Nobody would disagree with that, but Social Services are facing their own difficulties in balancing their books.”

Sir George is also concerned with the section on Andover Hospital. The document explains that the Andover site is inefficient, and there is scope for “rationalising”. It makes the point that some of the accommodation is poor, and that inadequate money has been spent on maintenance in recent years. However, at the end of the section, there is a conclusion that savings between £.5 and £1million pounds are possible. “The section ought to end with a clear commitment to invest in Andover Hospital, clearing the backlog of maintenance and improving the quality of the accommodation.”

Sir George said he welcomed the sections of the document that focused on improving efficiency, rationalising the estate overheads and reducing the number of organisations. “This is very welcome housekeeping.”

Sir George said he had no quarrel with the Local Health Authority. “They are obeying orders. The culprits are Ministers who have raised expectations.”

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Copyright Sir George Young Bt. 2015