Health Secretary's 'head in the sand' over health crisis

March 19, 2006 9:00 AM

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, has today claimed that Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is 'burying her head in the sand' about the NHS cash crisis.

Mr. Howarth's remarks followed Patricia Hewitt's claim on the Today Programme on Radio 4 that patients wouldn't suffer from the large deficits faced by many NHS Trusts. Her words strike a particular nerve in Cambridge where, following £3million of cuts to mental health services, patients are being turned away from vital health services.

Mr. Howarth commented:

"If Patricia Hewitt thinks that patients won't suffer from these cuts, she's burying her head in the sand.

"In Cambridge patients are already suffering. People are being turned away from vital services and young people are being told by their doctors that there is no longer an appropriate service to treat their needs. How can she say that patients aren't being hit by the cash crisis?

"People in Cambridge have already been hit hard by this round of cuts, but with the Primary Care Trusts still in deficit and the Health Secretary refusing to step in, I'm worried that the next round of cuts will be even more drastic. I will be continuing to lobby Patricia Hewitt about the NHS crisis in Cambridge so that she realises just how serious the situation is. The crisis in Cambridge is being reflected all over the country and it is time that the Health Secretary stopped hiding from it and took action."

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