Health Minister Jeremy Hunt '˜too busy' to meet Chorley A&E campaigners

Jeremy Hunt is accused of '˜putting lives at risk' after rejecting an invitation to talks.

Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 9:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 2:04 pm
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Hospital campaigners have blasted the Health Minister for “shunning a community” by turning down an important meeting with them.

The Protect Chorley Hospital against Cuts and Privatisation protest group had invited Jeremy Hunt to come and meet them next month.

They wanted to talk to him about the temporary closure of Chorley and South Ribble Hospital’s A&E department – but he declined the invitation because he is too busy.

David Davies, Mr Hunt’s correspondence manager, wrote to group organiser Steve Turner, saying: “Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, has asked me to thank you for your recent correspondence inviting him to visit Chorley or failing that, meeting with you and a delegation in parliament.

“Regrettably, due to his already hectic parliamentary and diary commitments, the Secretary of State is unable to accept your kind invitation or meeting request.”

Mr Davies also gets wrong the name of Chorley’s MP, referring to him as ‘Lindsay Houle’.

Mr Turner said campaigners were “extremely angry”, adding: “We wanted to meet Jeremy Hunt to express our frustration and anger that Lancashire Teaching Hospital Trust has failed to re-open our A&E service which serves a population of 360,000 

“The Trust management now tell us a decision will be made in April 2017 on re-opening our A&E, hardly a temporary closure.

“We call on the Health Minister to intervene and put plans in place immediately to start the process of a full service again.

“It is totally unacceptable to shun our community and put lives at risk for such a long period. We don’t want to see a future investigation on how many lives have been unnecessarily lost because of such a lengthy closure.”

He added: “On October 10 we are taking our campaign to Parliament. So far 95 people from Chorley and surrounding towns are attending a meeting in the House of Commons.

“We will be joining forces with around 10 more community groups who face similar cuts to A&E services.

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