Labour vow to halt Conservative hospital closure plans
Tory plans to close hospital departments across England would be suspended under a Labour government, Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has pledged.
The party say the Government’s ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ (STP) programme would be cancelled until a full scale review of all proposals was carried out.
Under the proposals, A&E departments, maternity and stroke units could be cut back in many parts of England.
But Mr Ashworth said ministers’ plans were a “disgrace”, having been devised without consultation with local people.
“We have listened to the hundreds of patients and campaigners up and down the country that have been pleading with the Government to hear their concerns about their local services,” he said.
“Threats of hospitals being closed, A&E services moved miles up the road, and children’s wards being shut, have caused widespread concern and confusion.
“What is more, these decisions have been decided behind closed doors, with no genuine involvement of local people. It's a disgrace.
But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt branded the proposals “nonsensical” and said Labour themselves had previously backed the Government plans.
“These local plans are developed by local doctors and communities, backed by the top doctors and nurses of the NHS, and will improve patient care, he said.
“This is all underpinned by an extra £10 billion for the NHS, which we can only afford thanks to our strong economy.
“That funding is at risk with Jeremy Corbyn, because – propped up by the SNP and Lib Dems in a coalition – he wouldn’t get a good deal in the Brexit negotiations and would put our growing economy at grave risk.”