Atkins intervenes in bid to save Louth hospital

Victoria Atkins with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
Victoria Atkins with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.

Conservative Party candidate Victoria Atkins has met with Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and ‘demanded’ that Louth County Hospital is ‘retained and developed’.

The intervention, in her capacity as Louth & Horncastle’s MP prior to the dissolution of Parliament earlier this week, came after months of vigorous campaigning from local group ‘Fighting 4 Louth Hospital’ - after the publication of Lincolnshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) raised fears over the hospital’s long term future.

The document, produced by Lincolnshire Health and Care, makes reference to the need for ‘re-provision of community facilities at Louth and Skegness with single site’, leading to concerns that Louth’s hospital could be shut.

Last week, Ms Atkins told the Leader that she has ‘demanded’ that the NHS retain and develop the hospital as a vital link in health care across the constituency.

She said: “I made a lengthy private visit to the hospital earlier this year, meeting senior management as well as medical and nursing staff.

“Following that, I wrote to Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England and to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, reflecting my view that the hospital is much-needed, much-used and much-valued by my constituents.

“I have also met Jeremy Hunt to express my determination to ensure that Louth Hospital – a ‘specialist’ general hospital – continued to provide all its present functions and, perhaps even, to expand them, particularly since the facility meets all its objectives in health, finance and patient care.”

Ms Atkins said that the Secretary of State emphasised that decisions about the hospital are for the ‘STP Group’ and that, in the first instance, concerns should be expressed to them.

She continued: “I met the Fighting 4 Louth Hospital campaign group to discuss their concerns and how we can sing the praises of our hospital most effectively.

“This is too important to become a partisan political football during the forthcoming General Election. Louth Hospital is a success and it deserves to continue and expand on its own considerable merits. I will do whatever I can to ensure that happens.”

• Ms Atkins’ comments follow a meeting on the Fighting 4 Louth Hospital campaign last Wednesday (April 26).

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