LABOUR chairman Hazel Blears today faces a twin attack over her support for maternity services in her Salford constituency. In a scathing letter, former health boss Dr Ian Greatorex branded her actions `unprincipled'. He claimed the MP had used the NHS as a tool to further her political career. Dr Greatorex, retired chief of Salford and Trafford Health Authority, claims that in 1998 Ms Blears failed to back a plan to transfer Trafford General's paediatric department to Hope Hospital in Salford and says she welcomed the fact the then Health Secretary personally intervened to stop the move.
Dr Greatorex says this blighted children's health services in Salford for years - and she was now protesting about a situation `she helped to bring about'. Ms Blears' decision to join mothers and midwifes to protest against the closure of Hope's maternity unit provoked a storm last month. Critics claimed she was cynically abandoning her own government's national health policy when it came to reforms that affected her own constituency. There were also claims that her support for the maternity unit was a blatant bid to improve her chances of beating Eccles Labour MP Ian Stewart in a selection battle later this month... The M.E.N. has seen a letter to Ms Blears from Dr Greatorex, retired chief executive of Salford and Trafford Health Authority, who is a supporter of Hope.
In the letter, he launches a scathing attack. He claims Ms Blears, who is also his local MP, has been inconsistent with her support of Hope. Dr Greatorex writes that in 1998, as a newly elected MP, she failed to back a health authority's proposal that Trafford General's paediatric in-patient department should close and be transferred to Hope. At the time, Health Secretary Frank Dobson intervened to stop the move - and Ms Blears welcomed it. Dr Greatorex says in his letter that the decision blighted children's health services in Salford for years and adds: "Your unprincipled intervention in 1998 helped to bring about the unfortunate situation in which we now find ourselves. In my view, you and your government have treated the local health service as a tool in furtherance of your own political careers, which explains why you now protest about a situation which you helped to bring about."Dr Greatorex told the M.E.N: "She gave a promise then that children's services would be developed at Hope. Nine years later, they have not been. I feel badly let down by my MP."
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Hazel Blears Stands Accused
From the Manchester Evening News...