Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has met Health Minister, Patricia Hewitt to highlight the serious financial problems faced by the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust?s which he fears will impact on the delivery of health services locally in particular in St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

    Peter Lilley said: “I and other Hertfordshire MPs met Health Minister, Patricia Hewitt, to tell her of our concerns over the serious financial problems faced by the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. I am concerned that these problems are beginning to impact on the delivery of health care services locally, including cuts in the number of operations and the closure of both medical and surgical beds ? not to mention the threat to the Hemel birth centre.

    “Labour said it would save the NHS, yet in Hertfordshire the NHS is suffering the worst cash crisis ever and there is worse to come. Even after proposed cuts in expenditure of ?14.1m in the coming year the West Herts Trust will be left with a bigger deficit than last year.

    “Sadly, and despite the combined representations of my colleagues and myself, the Minister refused to offer any help, but did admit that she was ?very concerned about the financial position across the Hertfordshire health economy?. But the only action she promised was to send in the government?s Emergency Health Team to try to sort out this financial mess.

    “I will be monitoring the position at Hemel Hempstead Hospital very closely to ensure that my constituents do not suffer as a result of the austerity measures that are being imposed on the Trust. We have already lost maternity and children?s services ? I will fight hard to prevent further run down of Hemel.?