Health chiefs pull out of hospital meeting
HEALTH chiefs expected to spell out the future of the Royston and District Hospital pulled out of a meeting last night (Wednesday). They were due to meet councillors at a meeting of North Herts District Council's Royston area committee. But at the 11th ho
HEALTH chiefs expected to spell out the future of the Royston and District Hospital pulled out of a meeting last night (Wednesday). They were due to meet councillors at a meeting of North Herts District Council's Royston area committee. But at the 11th hour the district council was told that no-one would be available to attend. The move comes in the wake of the release of new figures which show the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford Primary Care Trust to be more than £2 million in debt. It is hoping to reduce the debt by £1 million in the next months. The position of the trust was "worrying," said Royston's MP Oliver Heald. He said that health plans to restructure trusts in the area will mean that all new bodies will inherit debts. Mr Heald said, however, that he had been assured by the Herts Startegic Health Authority that the future of Royston Hospital is safe. But he said he would be putting down a Parliamentary question to Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt asking for a statement about the future of Royston Hospital. "To lose the hospital would be a tragedy because it's a marvellous place for people who need somewhere to go after being in hospital. It's also good in terms of physiotherapy and it's an important part of the community," he said. Talking about the debts in the health service, Andrew Lansley, the south Cambridgeshire MP and Shadow Health Secretary, said: "Across the east of England we have serious problems. "In some cases it's because of the result of over-spending, but because it's happening right across the region one can see it's the result of the relative lack of Government support. "It's the Government which imposes the costs and they affect the NHS considerably," he said. The figures also showed that the East and North Herts NHS Trust had a debt of almost £16.5 million. The Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford Primary Care Trusts have a combined debt of over £2million. Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire - £17million in debt. East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust - £16,450,00 in debt. Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance and Paramedic Service NHS Trust has £4,000. Councillor Eunice Woods of Buntingford Town Council spoke of her concern about the future abolition of the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford PCT. She said: "In this area we worked so hard to get one of our own trusts in order to have local input.