Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said plans to close all the beds at Harpenden Memorial Hospital would be a flagrant breach of public assurances given only eight months ago. I promised then that I would do all in my power to hold the management to their promises and I call on everyone who values the service to join me in doing so now.

    Recalling the public meeting held at Harpenden Public Hall on the 13th September 2005, Peter Lilley said: “The management then said they had examined the option of closing/running down Harpenden Memorial Hospital and concluded it would be bad for patient care and bad financially to do so.

    “They publicly assured us they intended to maintain and build up these services. What has happened since then to justify this bombshell?

    “That meeting demonstrated how deeply valued the service provided by the hospital is.

    “It is clear that this is simply a straight budget cut. It would be bad enough if the beds were being moved to St Albans, but that is not the case, No extra palliative care beds are being provided there. What provision will be made for local people who would have been cared for by our dedicated local staff?

    “The Primary Care Trust doubtless hopes their consultation process will simply rubber stamp this disgraceful breach of promise. If so, they misjudge the people of Harpenden and the surrounding villages.

    “I shall certainly be asking the Minister how this can possibly be reconciled with claims that services are being made better, more local, and more patient orientated.?