MPs in the north of the county have launched a cross-party campaign to save services at Kettering General Hospital.
Conservatives Philip Hollobone (Kettering) and Peter Bone (Wellingborough) joined Labour’s Andy Sawford (Corby and East Northants) at the hospital this morning (Friday, January 11) to announce their move, which they said was above party politics.
The hospital is part of the Healthier Together project, which is looking into service provision in the south East Midlands. Documents leaked last year showed the hospital, which serves most of the north of the county, could be at risk of losing out to other hospitals in the region.
Mr Hollobone said: “The three of us have agreed to put party political differences aside to come together to support and save Kettering General Hospital, to make sure this hospital has a very bright future ahead of it.”
Mr Sawford, who concentrated on the hospital’s future during his by-election campaign last year, said he was pleased he was working with his two Conservative neighbours.
“The hospital has got a great reputation locally and we hope it will continue to serve people in the north of the county in the future.
“There are some real pressures – we have got significant population growth, a changing population, an aging population.
“It’s important to make sure the hospital can meet the needs of the local people.”
Mr Bone added: “Healthier Together should be nervous. Nobody is suggesting this hospital is going to close but it should be better and bigger.
“This is a campaign across the local community, not just in Parliament. If anyone thinks they can downgrade services at Kettering they have got another thing coming.”
Kettering hospital chief executive Lorene Read said: “The fact that our three local MPs are prepared to put party differences aside to show their support for acute service provision in our area is to be greatly welcomed at a time when our hospital, our staff, and indeed the whole local health system, are under huge pressure.”
But she added: “I want to underline the fact that no services at Kettering General Hospital are presently under threat and to date the Healthier Together commissioners have not developed any proposals for public consultation.”
In a statement, Healthier Together insisted no decisions had been made. Dr Raffaella Poggi, NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group’s Locality Chair for Kettering said: “We are looking for the best solution for our local population, both in terms of quality of services for patients and in terms of ensuring we have a vibrant hospital which remains a central part of the local community attracting high calibre clinicians and staff.”