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Maternity closures appeal

14th February 2007

Plans to close hospitals in Manchester have been referred for appeal by health secretary Patricia Hewitt after pressure from her party chair.

emptybed1

Hazel Blears has protested over the plans which includes the closure of the maternity unit in her Salford constituency.

It has now gone to the independent reconfiguration panel for review.

The Labour party chair is one of a number of senior ministers who have joined protests over cuts in their constituencies, including Home Secretary John Reid, Junior Health Minister Ivan Lewis, and Chief Whip Jacqui Smith.

Mr Lewis objected to closures at the Fairfield Hospital in Bury, Greater Manchester, while Ms Smith protested about the Alexandra hospital in Redditch. John Reid is campaigning to keep open NHS facilities in his Airdrie and Shotts constituency.

Despite facing criticism for hypocrisy, the Prime Minister says the protests are a legitimate part of their jobs as constituency MPs.

The Conservatives said the NHS financial crisis had prompted widespread closures, with one in every 20 hospital beds now shut.

But the government has maintained its stance that the reconfiguration aims to modernise healthcare. Ms Hewitt said that the closure of beds was a sign of success as it meant patients were being treated more effectively near their homes.


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Article Information

Title: Maternity closures appeal
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 1994
Date Added: 14th Feb 2007

Sources

The Independent

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