Save Kettering Hospital – cross party campaign launchedPosted: January 12, 2013
Fighting to protect services at Kettering General Hospital is one of my top priorities. At present the so called ‘Healthier Together’ review is looking at the future of Kettering Hospital and four other hospitals. The models published by the review last September would see two out of the five hospitals lose a wide range of services including major injury and trauma services in A&E, inpatient pediatrics and obstetrics. A paper from the Healthier Together review showing detailed modelling across the five hospitals showed the ‘best option’ as a scenario in which Kettering would lose over 500 beds and a massive loss of services. In response to this I launched a massive public campaign, including a petition with more than 6000 signatures.
Healthier Together now tell me they are having a rethink. The ‘consultation’ has been delayed until later this year, while they take time to consider different options for Kettering, with a greater emphasis on how Northampton and Kettering hospital work together. There are significant funding and demand pressures on health services and one of the ways that Healthier Together argues that these can be addressed is by consolidating services. The argument for this is that people will be prepared to travel further for a better quality of care.
I can understand that it is better for some hosp itals to have specialisms. Many people from Corby go to hospitals further afield, such as Oxford Radcliffe, Moorfields, Great Ormond Street or Stoke Mandeville, to give a few examples, where these have particular expertise and facilities. However, people do want a proper A&E and full maternity service at the local hospital, rather than some distance away. This is something that my two neighbouring MPs, Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, and Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, also agree with. Although we represent different parties, we have decided to work together on this issue and have launched a joint campaign to save acute services at Kettering General Hospital.
3 MPs working together like this is unusual, and doing so on a cross party basis is quite unique. This does not mean that I agree with the Conservatives on their health policies – I don’t. However, I do believe that at a local level, there is a better chance of protecting services at Kettering Hospital if we work together, not just the MPs, but the councils and communities across Corby and East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough. I hope that my constituents will support me in putting party politics aside on this issue to work together to save the hospital services that we all rely on.