Tory leader makes hospital pledge

PUBLISHED: 10:12 20 March 2007 | UPDATED: 12:18 04 May 2010

David Cameron

David Cameron

CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron pledged that the future of Ely's Princess of Wales hospital would be safeguarded under a Tory government.

Mr Cameron toured the community hospital on Friday, and spoke to staff about the work being done at the Lynn Road site

CONSERVATIVE leader David Cameron pledged that the future of Ely’s Princess of Wales hospital would be safeguarded under a Tory government.

Mr Cameron toured the community hospital on Friday, and spoke to staff about the work being done at the Lynn Road site, where he gave a guarantee the hospital would be safe under a Conservative administration.

Campaigners fear that recent NHS cuts spell disaster for community hospitals like The Princess of Wales.

Flanked by shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, Mr Cameron praised the work being done by staff at the hospital and said: “It’s great to be here today at such a good example of a community hospital.”

Questioned by the Ely Standard about the future of the Princess of Wales, Mr Cameron said he could “absolutely” guarantee its safety.

“We think community hospitals have a huge role to play in the future of the NHS,” he said. “They are popular because people want to be treated close to their homes.”

Mr Cameron’s comments on the Princess of Wales Hospital have already raised eyebrows from local Liberal Democrat councillors. Nigel Bell, who represents Ely north and east at the county council said: “I would never trust the Tory party with the NHS – they opposed its creation and they have always starved it of investment when in power.

“Cameron is now trying to pretend his party suddenly cares about the NHS, he will say anything; I fully expect them to adopt Labour's old slogan 24 hours to save the NHS’ at the next election.”

Mr Cameron used the Ely visit to announce a series of proposed health reforms, ahead of the Conservative spring conference, and warned that Britain was in the grip of a “health crisis”.

“If you look at the rates of sexual diseases, if you look at obesity and diabetes we have a real public health crisis,” he said. “We’ve got to realise this isn’t just a Government responsibility, it is a social responsibility.”

District council Conservative leader Brian Ashton was heavily involved in saving the hospital after it was closed in 1992, and he greeted Mr Cameron and Mr Lansley on their arrival.

“Mr Cameron visited the entire range of services and he was much impressed by the breadth of services that is on offer at the Princess of Wales,” he said. “He had a remarkable grasp of the topic.”

The Princess of Wales, formerly, an RAF Hospital, was saved after local campaigners fought against its closure.

IS Britain in the grip of a public health crisis?

David Cameron and shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley used a visit to Ely’s Princess of Wales Hospital to preview a new direction in Conservative health policy, focusing on the social causes of rises in obesity, diabetes and sexually-transmitted infections.

Mr Cameron also promised that the hospital would be safe under a future Conservative government, but is he full of hot air? Or do his ideas have the best interests of the public at heart?

What do you think?

Call the newsdesk with your views on 01353 67831, write to the Ely Standard, 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email: editor@elystandard.co.uk

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