August 24, 2007 10:34 AM

Paul Rowen MP has slammed the decision of Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health to close vital services at Rochdale Infirmary. Mr Johnson, despite asking for more time to consider the decision has merely rubber stamped it. As a result of Mr Johnson's decision Rochdale will lose it A & E, Maternity, Child-care and other vital services. Rochdale Infirmary will now become a cottage hospital.

Paul Rowen MP said, "I am devastated for the people for Rochdale who have fought so hard against this. We have done everything possible to save these services and I am furious that we have been ignored. For so long the Labour Government claimed this was a local decision. The fact is that the new Secretary of State for Health is wielding the axe in Greater Manchester. When Gordon Brown came to power he promised a change of emphasis - reality has set in. It is now clear that there is no change at the heart of Government.

"Today marks a clean break with the NHS created by Beveridge. No longer will services be provided locally, by local people. The Labour Government ought to be ashamed of themselves.

This decision by Mr Johnson, will cost lives. All the evidence points to that and I think the Labour Government is a disgraceful for implementing this cost-cutting exercise. I would like to thank the people of Rochdale for their help and support in this campaign. People like Father Arthur Nearey, Councillor Jean Ashworth, Carole Ashworth-Lord and thousands of others have been brilliant and I am devastated for them.