Government U-turn gives hope to future of hospital

PUBLISHED: 11:32 09 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

THE future of Royston Hospital could be safe after a complete" Government U-turn on community hospitals. Two weeks ago the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford Primary Care Trust raised concern when it said: We cannot continue to run services in

THE future of Royston Hospital could be safe after a "complete" Government U-turn on community hospitals. Two weeks ago the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford Primary Care Trust raised concern when it said: "We cannot continue to run services in the same way". However, a Government White Paper has provided new hope. It discusses a "new generation of community hospitals to provide a wider range of health and social care services in a community setting". Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, told The Crow: "Previously the Government was not acknowledging the role of community hospitals and now they appear to have done a complete U-turn. "They seem to be talking about saving community hospitals now, rather than loosing them, so, it should be a win for Royston." The white paper states that one of the government's central aims is to provide care that is closer to peoples' homes, so they do not have to travel to major hospitals to receive treatment. An NHS confederation spokesperson said they wished to transform the nature of healthcare in this country, "bringing it closer to patients and making it better value for money". Mr Lansley said he believes the lobbying he and colleague have done to preserve community hospitals has paid off. "The campaign we've run for a number of months to support community hospitals, and the role they have to play, seems to have born some fruit," he said. "I hope the future is now a bit brighter for Royston hospital after this white paper and I hope I shall have an opportunity to visit soon." Following the release of the White Paper, Royston's MP Oliver Heald is urging a positive response from the Government. He has sent in a written Parliamentary question calling on Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to make a statement on the future of Royston Hospital. - Last week health chiefs from the trust were unable to discuss the future of Royston Hospital with councillors on North Herts District Council's Royston area committee. The trust said that a non-executive spokesman could be sent to meet councillors, but the offer was turned down.

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