Council Leader speaks of Infirmary fury

August 30, 2007 12:00 AM

Rochdale Borough's Leader of the Council, Councillor Alan Taylor, has slammed cuts at both Rochdale Infirmary and Fairfield Hospital in Bury. Councillor Taylor was speaking after the Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson MP last week rubber-stamped the decision of health bosses to close down A&E and maternity wards in Rochdale. Councillor Taylor is now calling for the cuts to be brought up at the next meeting of AGMA (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) as a matter of urgency.

A furious Councillor Taylor said: "I am disgusted with the Labour Government for implementing this decision. This is despite clear evidence in the report that this Council commissioned and presented to the Secretary of State. I feel that the Labour Government's decision is a disgrace. It's not just happening here though; in Salford they are losing services, in Bury, they are losing services and in Trafford they are losing services. I feel that all Greater Manchester Authorities should act together and form a collective approach to get the best for the region."

Councillor Taylor said that the Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be examining the decision in full. He also payed tribute to the role that the Council have played in opposing the cuts to services. He continued: "I would like to pay tribute to our Council's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee. I know that they will be upset that our campaign was not successful.

"I think a key mistake was made in 2005, when Labour dominated the Health Committee and actually voted to support axing key health services. Since then though, Councillor Brenda Kerslake and the team have worked hard with Council Officers formulating this council's opposition."

Councillor Taylor has also dismissed suggestions that Rochdale has lost out because it has a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament. Councillor Taylor said: "It is clear that Labour's axe falls regardless of political power. I know for example that my colleague, Councillor John Merry, the Labour leader of Salford Council, is disgusted at losing key services at Hope Hospital in Salford. Who is their MP? None other than Hazel Blears MP, a senior Labour Cabinet Member! In Bury, where they are also furious, one of their MPs is Labour Health Minister Ivan Lewis. Conservative-run Trafford is also suffering from cuts so this argument is absolute nonsense! Paul Rowen, as our MP, has done an excellent job and he should be applauded for fighting to save our services."