MP takes hospital battle to Blair

A LONG-RUNNING battle for a much-needed community hospital has been taken to Downing Street. Residents in Braintree have been impatiently waiting for a new hospital for the town for years but the project has been beset with numerous delays.

A LONG-RUNNING battle for a much-needed community hospital has been taken to Downing Street.

Residents in Braintree have been impatiently waiting for a new hospital for the town for years but the project has been beset with numerous delays.

And campaigners have spoken of the frustration of seeing money allocated for the project from sale of land at the St Michael's hospital site sitting idle.

Now Brooks Newmark, the Braintree Tory MP, has challenged the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to explain the continuing delays affecting the project.


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After their Downing Street meeting on Wednesday Mr Newmark said: “Although I am glad that the Prime Minister recognised the importance of this issue to my constituents by agreeing to meet with me, he was unable to tell me anything that we have not heard many times before.

“This is yet another example of warm words which will be of cold comfort to local people.”

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According to Mr Newmark, the Prime Minister blamed the delays on “ongoing consultation work” in a bid to establish exactly which services will be provided at the new facility.

He added: “As I told the Prime Minister, there used to be three community hospitals serving the people of Braintree and now there are none.

“Officials have been consulting, and promising, for several years but the same issues are cropping up time and again.

“I appreciate that the primary care trust needs to get the services right but local people deserve good local healthcare services now, not months or years further down the line.”

The ongoing battle for the new community hospital has seen protesters out on the streets of the Essex town, joined by the former MP Alan Hurst, who said there had been an “colossal letdown”.

The EADT contacted Mid Essex Primary Care Trust yesterday but nobody was available for comment.

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