Sir Roger Gale asks Secretary of State to help in Queen Vic row
BAY MP Sir Roger Gale has asked the Secretary of State to intervene in the fight to keep services at the Queen Victoria Hospital. As officials announced they would be pressing ahead with their plans to move outpatient clinics to Whitstable despite huge public opposition, Sir Roger asked Jeremy Hunt to call in the decision. The veteran Tory is also hoping to table a question on the hospital’s future in the House of Commons tomorrow (Thursday), and said he would not be giving up. Sir Roger said:
“It is a bad decision. I am used to consultation being a paper exercise but given the strength of feeling at two public meetings I had hoped and expected the hospital trust would have listened.”
“There is no transparency in how they have come to their decision and I want the Secretary of State to call it in.”
Hospital campaigners were also furious at the decision, revealing they had offered hundreds of thousands of pounds to transform the Queen Vic to meet the trust’s needs. Friends chairman Gillian Fowler said it could have ticked all the boxes. She said:
“The League offered a huge amount of money providing absolutely everything they need. The people of Herne Bay said what they wanted. We pulled out all the stops. I don’t think we could have done any more.”
Hundreds of people packed two public meetings at the Kings Hallabout the proposal, and more than 5,000 signed a petition calling for the clinics to stay in Herne Bay. The decision by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust will see the number of locations offering outpatient clinics cut from 15 to six. Officials have vowed to invest in better public transport links and have appointments available in the early mornings and evenings as well as on Saturdays.
Herne Bay Times, July 2nd 2014