LETTER: A&E is not returning to Burnley General Hospital

GORDON Birtwistle MP was quoted recently saying: “I believe the Government should be open and honest about the NHS reforms.” Why then can he not be open and honest about the proposals for Burnley General Hospital?

He persists in perpetuating the myth that A&E is soon to be returned to Burnley. It is true the Hospital Trust has bid for £9m. If the bid is successful the money will be spent making a better Urgent Care Centre.

The Hospital Trust, The Acute Trust and the GP Commissioning Board were absolutely clear when I met their representatives recently: there will be no return of A&E to Burnley now or at any time in the forseeable future nor will there be any increase in medical services provided as a result of this investment.

As a resident of Burnley, I welcome every penny of investment that comes into Burnley but I cannot condone our MP’s continued attempts to mislead Burnley people. Not only do I have the right to speak out against this deception I have a duty to speak and I will continue to do so.

Returning to the subject of the Government’s NHS reforms, the people of Burnley have a right to know why Gordon Birtwistle is supporting the Tory’s damaging changes. He is supporting changes in the NHS that will mean:

1. 49% of all bed and theatre time at Burnley General Hospital will be reserved for private patients (this is currently capped at 5%).

2. Private companies will be introduced on a massive scale and patient care will come second to private profit.

3. GPs forced to ration care as budgets are reduced.

4. Far from cutting red tape this bill will introduce extra tiers of bureaucracy.

It is for all these reasons the BMA, The Royal College of GPs, The Royal College of Nurses and The Royal College of Midwives are opposing this bill. Significantly, a number of senior Liberal Democrats including some peers, are speaking out in oppostion to this Bill. Why is our MP not among them? Of course he is not on his own: every Lib Dem councillor in Burnley voted to support the Tories’ health proposals.

COUN. JULIE COOPER

LABOUR GROUP LEADER