MP for Kettering Philip Hollobone has spoken during a debate in Parliament about the future of Kettering General Hospital, putting forward the case for it to retain the services it has now.
Kettering has been put under the microscope as part of a review of hospitals in the area, including Northampton, Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.
During the adjournment debate this afternoon, Mr Hollobone said: “There really is nothing more important to local people than the future of our much loved and badly needed hospital.”
The MP said population growth in the area meant the hospital couldn’t afford to lose services, and he questioned the time patients or staff would have to travel to sites such as Northampton, Bedford or Luton if there were changes at Kettering.
Mr Hollobone said: “It is a hospital very much embedded at the heart of the local community.”
He added: “It’s simply completely unacceptable to everyone in Kettering, whatever political party they support or not support, I will not put up with our A&E being downgraded or our maternity wing being downgraded.”
The Kettering MP said he was concerned that clinicians looking into the review may not be aware of the constituency’s ever-growing population and its needs, as well as the poor road and public transport provision between Kettering and Northampton.
He also raised Monitor’s recent intervention at the hospital as being indicative of the population pressure on Kettering’s A&E department.
He said: “Healthier Together need to get their act together because Kettering General Hospital is going to have a bright future whatever the clinicians in Milton Keynes might say.”
Mr Hollobone asked the Prime Minister last week whether he would make it policy that the hospital’s A&E and maternity services will not be downgraded.
David Cameron replied by saying Healthier Together has promised the hospital’s services will not close and they will be retained.
During this afternoon’s debate, Health Minister Daniel Poulter reiterated Mr Cameron’s points and said: “Kettering hospital has a viable future.”
Mr Poulter said there was no active consultation going on with regards to the proposals and that there had been ‘scare-mongering’ in the constituency about the future of the hospital.
The minister told Mr Hollobone: “I can reassure him that A&E services and maternity services are safe at Kettering General Hospital.”
Mr Hollobone and Kettering Council leader Russell Roberts met the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the hospital last month.
The MP will also look to set up meetings with clinicians behind the review to explain how crucial the hospital is to the town in the future.