HEALTH – NEW FOREST COMMUNITY HOSPITALS – 12 July 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: What does the Secretary of State think will be the effect on waiting times for in-patient treatment in the New Forest and in Romsey if the cottage hospitals that are under threat of having their in-patient beds closed after a bogus consultation by the local Primary Care Trust do in fact lose those beds? May I thank her for the response given by the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) to the Adjournment debate on this subject last week, and ask her, on behalf of cross-party MPs from the New Forest and Romsey area, for a meeting to discuss this truly desperate situation?

[The Secretary of State for Health (Patricia Hewitt): I understand that a consultation is taking place and that a close look is being taken at how best to provide services, particularly for elderly patients, in the hon. Gentleman's constituency and nearby. I will take the opportunity to have a look at the record of the Adjournment debate, which I have not seen, and I will ensure that he and his hon. Friends are seen, if not by me, then by one of my ministerial colleagues.]