Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
MP taunts mixed-up minister who confused St Helens, Warrington and Halton hospitals
7:00pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in News
AN MP has hit out at a Government health minister who confused Warrington, Halton and St Helens in a House of Commons debate.
Helen Jones pressed junior health minister David Poulter for assurances that Warrington Hospital would not lose services if a merger with Whiston and St Helens went ahead.
But Mr Poulter told MPs the Halton trust was aiming to achieve foundation status and that Warrington would therefore be safe.
In fact, Warrington and Halton are part of the same trust and it is St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which is seeking to become a foundation trust.
Helen Jones, Warrington North MP, who is a former St Helens ward councillor, said: “I am very concerned that the minister did not even seem to understand which trust he was dealing with.
“I have repeatedly asked for assurances that services at Warrington Hospital would not be downgraded or reduced.
“His answers gives me no such assurances not least because he doesn’t even understand which trust he is dealing with.
“As I said he has probably not been north of Watford but you would like to expect a minister to understand an area he covers.”
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is saddled with £42m yearly bills to repay a £350million private finance initiative that funded the construction of two hospitals.
Following the reorganisation of the NHS, the trust has been left with a £20m funding black hole and the Government continues to hold out on supplying money from a bail out fund.
Department of Health chiefs want to be convinced that Whiston and St Helens have the necessary financial and clinical viability to achieve foundation status.