New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: If he [Alan Milburn] will make a statement on the future of the Lymington community hospital?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Ms Hazel Blears): New Forest primary care trust, which manages Lymington hospital, is developing proposals for a new hospital and plans to submit its outline business case to the NHS regional office next month.]

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] I thank the Minister for that reply, although it is slightly uninformative. The existing health authority is to be wound up at the end of March, and replaced by a new strategic health authority. Is she aware of the New Forest Primary Care Trust's concern that there is a risk that the funding allocated for the new hospital under the existing health authority might not be carried forward as a commitment by the new health authority? The Trust is also worried that what might be termed "planning blight" will add to the hold-ups that have bedevilled the project for so many years. Can the Minister give a reassurance that the New Forest will not lose out in funding and suffer further delays as a result of the changeover to the new health authority?