Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has called on the Health Secretary to justify his decision not to allocate a single penny out of a £250 million A&E support fund to hospitals in the north east.
The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in Parliament on Tuesday 10th September government plans to support hospital A&E departments this winter. He announced plans to distribute funding to 53 NHS Trusts, not one located in the north east.
This funding disparity was revealed when Bridget questioned the Health Secretary in Parliament:
Bridget Phillipson: "Hospitals across the north-east, as in many parts of the country, are facing considerable pressure on their A and E departments. Will the Secretary of State set out in more detail the rationale used to allocate the funding? I notice that not a single NHS trust in the north-east appears on his list."
Mr Hunt: "The decision on which 53 areas to concentrate the resources was not made by me; it was made by NHS England, talking to Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, on the basis of where, in their professional assessment, the highest-risk areas are. That is a sign that hospitals in the north-east are performing extremely well. In the past few months I have visited Newcastle, and I thought the hospital was absolutely fantastic; I did a stint on the front line there. There are some outstanding hospitals across the country, and there is very good NHS provision in the north-east. That is probably the reason."
Commenting after the announcement, Bridget said:
"It's disappointing but not surprising that once again this government has overlooked our region.
"The Secretary of State refused to take any responsibility for the decision instead blaming his own department's bureaucracy.
"A&E staff locally do their best in difficult circumstances, but that surely cannot justify the decision to ignore the very real pressures they face. As we approach the winter, I will continue to press for a fairer deal for patients and staff."
Read the full statement by the Health Secretary here.