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MP has harsh words for Health Secretary

October 11, 2007 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP had harsh words for the way Health Secretary Alan Johnson wielded the axe on services at Rochdale Infirmary, Mr Rowen was speaking in a health debate in Parliament and spoke of the way that the decision was made. He said: "When the Prime Minister was appointed he talked about restoring trust in politics. I would like to talk about the process we went through because I have to say that if the way we were treated is an example, then I think he is even more cynical than his predecessor.

"44,000 people signed a petition against those proposals, yet the decision to downgrade Rochdale Infirmary was announced the Friday before August Bank Holiday. At 4.30pm the day before, when I got through to the Minister's office, they refused to confirm to me that the statement was to be made the following morning. This was despite the fact that I had an email they had sent out inviting the media to that particular press conference. That to me is an absolutely disgraceful way to behave. I'm afraid it is a typical example of the cynical way the Government has behaved. The Government needs to start listening because people are not happy and will not put up with this disgraceful way of going about things."

Mr Rowen also added in the debate: "Rochdale Infirmary is being downgraded… the hospital itself is situated in a ward where average morbidity rates are fifth highest in the country, at 68 years of age. This from a government that talks about delivering services locally and working for people."

Mr Rowen said after the debate: "I will continue raising the issue of Rochdale Infirmary in Parliament. The way that Alan Johnson handled the announcement was nothing short of disgraceful. It was an exercise in minimising adverse headlines following their betrayal.

"I know that other MP's from Greater Manchester share my frustration. This, when we are dealing with issues as serious as our local health services is unacceptable.

"I will be raising the very shabby way that this decision, affecting thousands of Rochdale residents was handled with the Leader of the House."