Monday, 10 September 2007

Frenchay Hospital - maybe some progress

This is the short version - you can read the full story on Steve Webb's blog.

First the bad news - we tried to get the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate the way they decided to downgrade Frenchay Hospital - but she's decided she can't because nobody has "suffered injustice" yet. And by the time they have, the hospital will be closed and it'll be too late.

And now the GOOD NEWS (maybe) - The new Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, has said in the Commons “…I will, as a matter of course, ask the Independent Reconfiguration Panel - our expert clinical group - for advice on any decisions made at local level which have been referred to me by Overview and Scrutiny Committees”.

Last week's meeting of South Glos Council's health scrutiny committee was just going to note that Mr Johnson had responded negatively to the Council's concerns about the Bristol Health Services Plan.

However Lib Dem Cllr Sue Hope tabled an amendment saying that the Committee should make a fresh referral of the whole thing to the new Secretary of State. It was passed because the Lib Dems persuaded the Conservatives to vote for it as well.

The Labour spokesman says it's a waste of money - they've given up already - see the Gazette story here.

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