Saturday, January 13, 2007

The MP, the health secretary, and an unresolved conflict

· Campaign over A&E highlights discrepancy

· Hewitt said to see protests as legitimate response

John Carvel, social affairs editor

Saturday January 13, 2007

The Guardian

Throughout last year, Kitty Ussher, an up and coming Labour MP, fought a high profile campaign to save the accident and emergency department at the NHS hospital in her Burnley constituency.

It was slated for closure and there were fears among the townspeople that lives could be lost if they had to be taken in an emergency to the hospital in Blackburn.

In June, Ms Ussher led local protesters on a delegation to London to plead their case with Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary. It may not have been too difficult for the 35-year-old MP to gain access to the minister. For three years, while Ms Hewitt was trade and industry secretary, Ms Ussher was her special adviser.