In a wide ranging speech last night in the House of Commons before Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, leading for the Government, Michael Fabricant called for a cost benefit analysis to be undertaken of our membership of the European Union, but concentrated his speech on the closures of local hospitals in Lichfield and Burntwood. He told the House and the Deputy Speaker, Mrs Sylvia Heal (this taken from Hansard):-
"The Victoria hospital, Lichfield, with which you, Madam Deputy Speaker, are only too familiar, and the Hammerwich hospital in Burntwood both face closure. It is extraordinary that on 8 June — the very day after the general election — South Staffordshire health authority issued its conclusions on the future of community hospitals in South Staffordshire, in which it announced those closures so as to save £1 million. You will know, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I raised that issue in the House month after month. When I raised it with the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health, they said — perhaps understandably — that they could not comment on leaked documents that had not yet been published. Was it not cynical of the authority to issue the document the day after the election?
"Those are the very matters mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. The Queen’s Speech contained a commitment to improve health services in the United Kingdom. I urge Ministers to bear it in mind that health services in the United Kingdom encompass more than primary care and the great specialist centres, such as the traumatic injuries unit at the North Staffordshire hospital, Stoke-on-Trent; they also include the community hospitals that are found in all our constituencies." Michael urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to provide the funds to keep hospitals in Lichfield and Burntwood open. He did not respond.