Following the cancellation just a couple of weeks ago – with less than 24
hours notice – when 11 councilors and charity workers from Lichfield and
Burntwood together with Michael Fabricant (MP for Lichfield) were due to
meet Health Minister John Hutton MP, he has cancelled yet again.
But this time, the meeting scheduled for 4pm on Tuesday 6th November at
the Department of Health in Whitehall will still go ahead.
Instead, the councilors and charity workers will be meeting Lord Hunt of
Kings Heath OBE who is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the
Department of Health. "We couldn’t cancel yet again", says Michael
Fabricant. "John Hutton is going to Canada and there is no guarantee that
if we set a third date, he wouldn’t cancel that one too at short notice.
Nevertheless, Lord Hunt is a Health Minister and we will be seeing the same
civil servants. We shall be saying that Tony Blair wants local agreement
concerning the future of hospital care in Lichfield and Burntwood. By the
Health Authority’s own admission, there is no such local agreement. The
South Staffordshire Health Authority has already moved to meet the genuine
concerns of local people. Their original plan to ditch the dialysis unit
has been shelved and we are likely to have more bed places than originally
planned. But we need further movement: the future of our maternity unit
needs to be assured, day surgery should be kept in Lichfield, there needs
to be bed spaces in Burntwood following the proposal to close Hammerwich
Hospital, and we need assurances regarding the number of beds available in
Lichfield. There also needs to be room for expansion of the proposed new
hospital: it would be crazy if it has to be rebuilt elsewhere in a few
years time when the population growth needs more facilities".