Dobson accused of NHS betrayal

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Indy Politics
The Government was accused yesterday of a betrayal of trust following the admission by Frank Dobson, the health secretary, that some hospitals would have to close to save the NHS.

John Maples, the Conservative health spokesman, accused Mr Dobson of having "scant regard for the sick and elderly" after his comments at the NHS Confederation's conference this week.

Mr Dobson told the meeting of NHS managers that the health service would have to change to survive and that would mean fewer hospitals and health authorities and more care delivered by doctors and nurses in the community.

Mr Maples said a report in The Independent, published before the election had claimed Labour had a hospital closures plan. This was later denied in a letter to the newspaper from health spokesman Chris Smith who said: "We have no such plans."

Quoting from Thursday's Independent, Mr Maples said: "So how can Mr Dobson now say: `I am pretty clear there are too many [hospitals] and every one in the NHS thinks there are too many'."

In a letter to the Health Secretary demanding clarification of the Government's position, Mr Maples wrote: "Is this just another case of Labour saying one thing before the election and doing another afterwards, or yet another mistake?

"Whatever it is, you and your team seem to have little regard for the concerns of those who use the NHS or those who work in it."

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