MP hits back over DDH cuts

AN MP has hit back at claims he is out of touch with the public over plans to cut services at Dewsbury District Hospital.

Tory Simon Reevell spoke out after Kirklees councillor Karen Rowling criticised him for backing the downgrading of A&E and maternity units.

Coun Rowling (Lab, Dewsbury West) accused Mr Reevell of ignoring 30,000 names on a petition against the proposal.

The backbencher insists he thought carefully before deciding he did not want to go against the advice of doctors.

Mr Reevell said: “It would’ve been very easy for me to be popular by saying no to any change. But I decided to do what I thought was right.

“I’ve said all along we should be guided what the clinicians say. And they think can save more lives.

“They were asked ‘if you had all the money in the world would you still want to do this?’ and they said ‘yes’.

“Whose judgement should you follow – the medical experts or a left-wing Labour councillor who isn’t a clinician?”

Mr Reevell added: “There was a perfect example of what happens when politicians interfere with the NHS only last week.

“Some 13,000 people may have died unnecessarily from 2005 to 2010 and the last Labour government suppressed the findings for political reasons.”

Coun Rowling was equally scathing of consultation on the cuts plan, which she branded a failure and a sham.

A public meeting which could decide Dewsbury District Hospital’s fate was due to be held at Ossett Town Hall yesterday (Thurs).

Martin Carter, head of communications and engagement for the Meeting the Challenge consultation, insisted the exercise was not flawed.

He said: “The quality of the responses received is more important and meaningful than simply the numbers taking part.

“This is why we have not relied simply on quantitative data such as numbers sending back the feedback questionnaires.

“Our consultation also included roadshows, public meetings, focus groups and liaison with elected representatives.

“We also had a dedicated website, phone line and e-mail address, responding directly to more than 1,400 emails. Overall, about 5,000 people were engaged with directly through these various channels.”

“The consultation was assessed by national experts, who provided a very positive assessment of the quality of the work undertaken.”

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