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Honesty call over hospital closures

9th April 2010

Charities and patient organisations have accused politicians of not being “honest and open” about hospital closures.

hospitalbuilding

The group National Voices said while political parties were prepared to talk about savings and the need to move care into the community, they were less open about services and hospitals closing down.

National Voices head Jeremy Taylor said his organisation did not oppose hospital reorganisation or minor surgery and treatment being carried out in GP practices and acknowledged how giving older people more support in their home could also keep patients out of hospital.

But he said: “Quite often people prefer this and it makes sense both financially and clinically, but it does mean wards and beds going and even whole district general hospitals closing.

"But that is a taboo subject. Politicians don't want to talk about it in the election and I don't think that is fair.”

The NHS has been told to make between £15bn and £20bn of savings from 2011 to 2014 with many hospital reorganisation projects under way.

The NHS Confederation said more cuts were on the way while the British Medical Association said it wanted more openness.

But a BMA spokesman warned: "There is a crucial distinction to be made between reconfiguring services for clinical reasons - for example developments in keyhole surgery may mean patients do not need to stay overnight in hospital - and cutting them for financial reasons."

All three parties have said they are not against hospital reorganisation in principle and claimed their policies are clear.

 

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