Following a request from Michael Fabricant, Minister of Health, John Hutton MP, has agreed to meet local organisations concerned over the future of hospital care in Lichfield and Burntwood.
Mr Fabricant was responding to a formal request from Burntwood Town Council for such a meeting which had already been on the cards since Tony Blair assured Mr Fabricant in a letter that the Prime Minister was concerned that there should be local agreement over any changes to hospital care in the area. The meeting, whose date has yet to be fixed, will be held at the Department of Health in London and representatives from Burntwood Town Council, Lichfield City Council, The Lichfield Hospitals’ Comforts Fund (which organised a massive protest march in Lichfield on 11th August), and the Hammerwich Hospital Supporters Committee (which also participated in the march).
"This meeting will enable local people to make their views known directly to a senior Government Minister", says Michael Fabricant. "There is currently much misinformation and spin being spread about these proposed changes. Let us be clear: we welcome a new hospital, but not at any cost. Local people, and I their elected representative, object strongly to a reduction in hospital services in Lichfield and Burntwood and are concerned that there will be insufficient beds available for respite care. If Hammerwich Hospital is to be closed, we are not convinced that the St Michael’s site for the new hospital is more suitable than the Victoria site. It is unfortunate that these changes are being driven by the need to save £1 million annually from the local health budget rather than by the need to provide improved and increased local care for an expanding population. We shall be making all these points very clearly to the Government when we meet with the Minister".