Labour candidate for Redcar, Anna Turley, has today (11th March 2014) blasted Redcar Lib Dem MP, Ian Swales, for his failure to vote against the controversial ‘hospital closure clause’ claiming that “residents will not forget this latest betrayal by the Lib Dems that seriously risks local NHS services”.
Clause 119 of the Care Bill gives the Health Secretary sweeping powers to force hospital closures whilst local patients and clinicians would have little chance to object. Labour opposed the clause whilst urging the Lib Dem-Tory Government to hand power back to local communities.
“Not for the first time the Lib Dem MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, appears to have ignored the serious concerns of his constituents and given the Tory Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, the power to close any hospital — without asking NHS staff and local people what they think. Despite all the posturing from the Liberal Democrats ahead of the vote, only one of their MPs rebelled when it came to the crunch.
“The hospital closure clause can now be added to the ever growing list of Lib Dem betrayals. When you consider that in the Coalition agreement it quite clearly states that they would ‘stop the centrally dictated closures’ of local health services – this clause does the exact opposite. With this vote, the Lib Dems have taken it to a new level – how can anyone trust a word they say?
“It is a move that could hit every community whilst leaving those on the receiving end without a voice. Residents will not forget this latest betrayal by the Lib Dems that seriously risks local NHS services.
“I am pleased that Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary has confirmed that Labour would repeal the clause but, due to this latest Lib Dem betrayal, local health services have been left in serious danger with a Coalition Government that seems hell bent on dismantling this beloved public service and selling it off to the highest bidder.”