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James Morris MP enters increasingly bitter national NHS row
3:00pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
The Conservative MP has demanded what former Labour ministers knew about problems at Dudley’s Russells Hall Hospital after it emerged the previous Government did not want information about the failing Basildon Hospital released before the last General Election.
Basildon was investigated earlier this year along with the Dudley Group of Hospitals because of higher than expected mortality rates.
The row is part of the increasingly bitter exchanges between Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP and the shadow health minister Andy Burnham MP who in charge of the NHS for the Labour administration.
Mr Morris said: “If Labour ministers were putting pressure on the health watchdog to suppress a damning official report into this hospital then people are bound to ask whether the last Government also ignored and covered up concerns about rising mortality rates at Russells Hall.
“We can be very proud of our NHS, which normally provides an excellent service but when there are problems, they must be dealt with as they have been by this Government instead of being covered up.”
He added: “How can people believe that the NHS is safe in Labour’s hands when their response to problems is either to ignore them and attack those who raise concerns – particularly about things as vital as death rates?
“I am delighted that the Dudley Group of Hospitals has made a lot of necessary improvements because we all depend on having a top quality National Health Service.”
However, Labour has hit back at the MP branding his intervention as “a clumsy attempt at a smear.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “James Morris should be ashamed of himself.
“The Keogh review showed a shortage of nurses at Russells Hall under this government and the hospital has had to spend £20 million on a wasteful reorganisation he supported instead of improving care for local people.
“He should be campaigning for more resources for the hospital instead of trying to smear his opponents and score party political points.”
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