A Burt's eye view… Hospitals are starved of cash

PUBLISHED: 11:43 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt continues his occasional series of articles looking at aspects of local life

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt continues his occasional series of articles looking at aspects of local life

PARLIAMENT has got quickly back into its stride. Already we have had a mass lobby from pensioners, and another by sub postmasters worried about the continuing threat to their existence, as Government policy directs work away from them. There seems to be a

PARLIAMENT has got quickly back into its stride.

Already we have had a mass lobby from pensioners, and another by sub postmasters worried about the continuing threat to their existence, as Government policy directs work away from them.

There seems to be a reluctance by Government to give clear commitments to the Post Office Card Account, which has been a lifeline for customers and post offices alike, and the anger of the lobby was clear.

But that is not the only issue with strong local resonance which has been on our mind.

The future of the hospitals in the region has been the subject of questions and debate, and much puzzlement. No one argues that the NHS has not received billions of extra pounds in recent years, but whereas Labour MPs tend to stop at that, and assume that more must always mean better, the rest of us are amazed that so much could be spent, yet our hospitals are in so much debt.

This is particularly acute in the Eastern region, where extraordinarily half the trusts with the greatest national deficits are situated.

Either we have very bad managers, or it may well be true, as a Cambridge University study said in July, that rural and sub rural areas have been deliberately under-funded by the Government, which does not take proper account of the problems of distance in communities which are not tightly packed and urban. Or have Labour MPs.

The region's MPs will continue to raise this issue. Our hospitals are already under enough pressure from what seem to be continual reviews of their status, but unless this anti-rural bias is addressed we can expect our problems to continue, and we are right to be suspicious of the acute services review.

Alistair Burt MP

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