Letter: Hospital cuts wound patients

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was not surprised to read that 'The (Mersey) Regional Health Authority has persistently held back money from its districts' ('Mersey cuts NHS waiting time to less than a year,' 5 January). I am surprised that this is heralded as an initiative to cut waiting lists.

In Crewe & Nantwich we are at the sharp end of this 'initiative'. Waiting lists may appear to have been cut but at what cost?

The Mid-Cheshire Hospitals Trust, which includes Leighton District Hospital, is pounds 3m underfunded. Now the trust are proposing 100 redundancies, a quarter of which are nursing staff, the closure of several wards and a clear reduction in service. This is the second time the trust has proposed to solve its financial problems by redundancies.

We need a hospital that offers a comprehensive range of services. The present policy will result in worse service, fewer qualified staff and the referral of patients to other parts of the region for facilities that should be provided locally.

The regional health authority boasts they are doing a good job. The reality, however, is nothing more than crisis management. They are placing mythical statistical targets ahead of their duty to provide a well planned health service. Leighton's closed wards and overworked staff are the ultimate price to he paid for their arrogance - and the cost is to the patients.

Yours faithfully,

GWYNETH DUNWOODY

MP for Crewe and Nantwich (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

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