Monday, April 16, 2007

85% of health cash 'goes to labour areas'.
Up to 85% of Government spending on health has gone to Labour areas, according to the Conservative Party. Details from parliamentary questions show that 33 of the 46 multi-million pound hospitals built since 1997 are in Labour areas. Government policy has been targeted at removing health inequalities and tackling problems in deprived areas, many of which are Labour strongholds. However the Conservative say they are waiting for an explanation of the rationale behind the placement of such projects. Andrew Lansley the shadow health spokesman, said:
"Four in every five of Labour's new hospitals have been built in the constituencies of their own MPs. Meanwhile, ministers are holding secret meetings with Labour Party officials to target up to 60 hospital cutbacks on the constituencies of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs. These figures confirm what we suspected when Patricia Hewitt went against the advice of experts and ordered a new hospital to be built in a Labour constituency in south London. Last year, Patricia Hewitt launched a policy dictating that care should be provided at home and not in hospitals. Patients in Conservative and Lib Dem areas will be wondering why it is their hospitals that have to close in support of the policy, while patients in Labour areas benefit from virtually all the spending Labour is committing to building new hospitals which are, apparently, unnecessary." Andy Burnham, the health minister, angrily denied the claims and said that need was determining the location of new hospitals. "The Tories slashed capital spending in the early 1990s and left the fabric of the NHS in an appalling state, in many cases in the most deprived areas," he said. "Now they are having a go at us for putting things right. Over 100 major new hospital projects worth more than £10 billion have either already opened or have started construction since 1997 as we rectify years of under-investment." The Tories also drew attention to the long-term cost of these hospitals, which were revealed in a written answer last year to be £52.8bn over the lifetime of the PFI contracts under which they have been built.

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