MP’s pledge to fight closure

PUBLISHED: 12:58 26 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:06 06 May 2010

Barbara Follett

Barbara Follett

AN MP has vowed to fight any plan to close Lister Hospital and has threatened to camp outside the health secretary s office with a placard and a Thermos if she has to. Stevenage MP Barbara Follett said: I do not believe that closure of the Lister is a se

AN MP has vowed to fight any plan to close Lister Hospital and has threatened to camp outside the health secretary's office with a placard and a Thermos if she has to.

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett said: "I do not believe that closure of the Lister is a serious option. But, if it is, they will have to do it over my dead body."

Mrs Follett reacted angrily to last week's report on the front page of The Comet, which highlighted the fact that Lister could be forced to close depending on the results of an acute services review by the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

The multi-million pound plan to build a super-hospital in Hatfield could also be scrapped.

Mrs Follett said: "Over the past month I have personally spoken to every Hertfordshire official involved in the review of hospital provision in the eastern region being carried out by the new SHA.

MP Barbara Follett - "If closure of the Lister is a serious option they will have to do it over my dead body"
"I have also held talks with Andy Burnham, the minister responsible and Patricia Hewitt, the secretary of state for health. During these discussions I have made it quite clear that the closure of the Lister is not an option."

She added: "If there was any chance at all that our hospital would be closed or even downgraded I would be camped outside the health secretary's office with a placard and a Thermos until she changes her mind."

But the SHA has refused to rule out closing any of the region's 19 hospitals.

The first stage of the review - which aims to establish a new pattern of hospital services that will meet the demands of 21st century healthcare and be financially sustainable - is due to be completed by early next week.

A more detailed review and public consultation will follow, before a final decision is made in the New Year.


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