Michael Fabricant believes that some local G.P.s are being deliberately misguided over the aims of the "Save the Vic" campaign.
"This is not a fight over bricks and mortar; instead, locals – including me – are concerned that all the medical facilities currently available in Lichfield and Burntwood remain in Lichfield and Burntwood", says Michael Fabricant. "I think there has been a crude attempt to muddy the waters over this issue to disguise a future reduction in medical services which has been driven through the need to save £1 million annually from the local health budget.
"So let us be clear about this. While I would prefer a new hospital to be built on the site of the current Victoria Hospital because of its ease of accessibility to Burntwood now that it appears that the Hammerwich Hospital is to be closed and because of the affection local people feel for our local hospital, the whole issue and the aim of the campaign is to ensure that as our area expands in population local medical services remain in Lichfield and are not diminished – wherever the future site may be.
"It will not be acceptable to me if day surgery, currently in Lichfield, moves out of Lichfield. It will not be acceptable to me if the maternity unit after 10 months, currently in Lichfield, moves out of Lichfield. Nor will it be acceptable to me if minor injuries treatment, currently in Lichfield, moves out of Lichfield or is diminished in its capability in any way. In short, it will not be acceptable to me if any medical facilities, currently in Lichfield, move out of Lichfield. I hope that this now clarifies my position and that of other campaigners. It is unfortunate if a minority of doctors and many medical administrators have chosen to confuse a campaign for medical facilities with a non existent campaign to preserve bricks and mortar in aspic!"
Meanwhile, Michael Fabricant is still awaiting from the Health Authority (1) an analysis of the costs of acquiring land behind the Victoria Hospital in order to construct new facilities there – this option had previously not been seriously considered; and (2) a guarantee that there will not be a ‘medical services gap’ between the closure of the old Victoria Hospital and the opening of the new hospital wherever that may be.