The South Staffordshire Health Authority will issue a report on June 8th (delayed from last year) which will announce the closure of the Hammerwich Hospital as soon as is practical with the loss of all bed places, and the closure of the Victoria Hospital which will be replaced with a smaller facility on the St Michael's site in Lichfield. Half the Lichfield beds will go, the maternity unit will have a stay of execution for 10 months and only the dialysis unit will remain in Lichfield. The contents of the report has been leaked to Mr Fabricant by local GPs and health workers who have seen it being prepared by the Health Authority.
"The publication of this frightening report was deliberately and cynically delayed until after the election", says Michael Fabricant. "But a document of this type cannot be kept a secret. I have raised local healthcare numerous times in Parliament, but both Tony Blair and the Health Secretary have consistently used the excuse that the report has not been published so they would not discuss it. Now they will have to. Where will Burntwood patients go? And will Lichfield patients be sent to Burton or Cannock?
"These appalling decisions have been forced on the South Staffordshire Health Authority by the Labour Government. The Authority is the lowest funded on a per capita basis in the West Midlands which, in turn, is the worst funded health region in the country. But to make matters worse, the Chairman of the Health Authority, David Murray, has written to me saying that the Authority has not even received the relatively small target funding it is due. The Government has withheld from South Staffordshire Health Authority £4,755,000 of its target funding level. The Authority is now running a £6 million rolling deficit each year which the Government expects repaid. If I am re-elected, I will immediately raise these matters in Parliament to try and reverse these decisions and neither the Prime Minister nor the Health Secretary will be able to hide behind the report now it will have been made public".