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Doctor tells politicians to 'tell the truth' about hospitals
POLITICIANS who argue their local hospitals can continue providing a full range of acute services are accused of "lying" by a former Bucks GP.
Doctor Phillip Lee, who is Conservative MP for Bracknell, was in Marlow on Friday to present his radical plans for a new regional hospital at Junction 8/9 of the M4 (see related links).
And he told the public meeting at Great Marlow School: "I got quite tired generally as a voter when politicians didn’t tell people how it is... when they told voters what they want to hear.
"The era of district general hospitals is gone, it’s past, it’s never to come again.
"There’s a lot of emotion attached to these sites.... But anyone saying the local hospital model can be delivered is kidding you... is lying."
For any councillor or MP to call for the closure of a hospital in their town is widely seen as political suicide - but Dr Lee seems to have gained respect in some quarters for doing just that.
His plan would mean the full closure of Heatherwood Hospital, which has already sparked controversy within his constituency.
Dr Lee says there is consensus within in the medical profession that dozens of hospitals across the country should be closed, but the subject is politically toxic and strikes fear into governments.
When first elected in 2010 he said he asked the Department of Health if they had a hospital closure plan, but said there was "no acknowledgement at all of where hospitals are now and where they need to be".
He added: "Civil servants don’t seem to get it or don’t want to deal with it. I think I’m unusual in that I’m saying something openly about reconfiguration."
He said some health professionals have already started taking an interest in his work, but warned "vested interests" mean some will favour the status quo.
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