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Health and council bosses accused over hospital
3:00pm Monday 14th May 2012 in News
AN MP has launched a furious attack on health and council bosses over the closure of mental health beds in Hampshire.
But his plea for a minister to intervene was rejected.
Simon Burns, the Health Minister, said it would be “totally inappropriate” for the Government to wade into the debate, insisting it was a matter for local decision-makers.
The Southern Health Foundation Trust wants to close 58 beds, including the 24 at Woodhaven.
Speaking in Westminster Hall, Dr Lewis, who was supported by Winchester MP Steve Brine and Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes, criticised the consultation into the changes, which he said were based on flawed statistics.
He had hoped to appear at a meeting of the county council’s Health Scrutiny Committee to argue that the closures should be referred to the Government.
He said the committee chairman, Councillor Pat West, had told him there was no need for him to attend a meeting in January.
But he subsequently discovered that the bed closure plan had been “fully endorsed” at the meeting.
Quoting from a letter he wrote to councillors, he said: “In almost 15 years as a Hampshire MP, I have never received treatment like this from an elected colleague in my own party, and am deeply shocked by it.”
Closing his speech, he said: “It would be easy to summarise this story as that of a trust which could not be trusted with its own statistics and a committee chairman who deceived an MP about a vital meeting.”
But it was really about carers, nurses and service-users, he said.
Mr Burns outlined the trust’s reasons for its decision, which would allow for more investment in alternative facilities and provide better support for people living outside hospital.
Other health trusts were doing similar things in different parts of the country, he said.
Cllr West was last night unavailable for comment.