Siobhain McDonagh slams Lib Dems over future of St Helier
Siobhain McDonagh accused Paul Burstow and Tom Brake of being "unprincipled" in their defence of St Helier Hospital
Mitcham and Morden’s MP has fiercely criticised her Sutton counterparts for “unprincipled shenanigans” for their stance on proposed cuts to St Helier Hospital.
In a House of Commons adjournment debate yesterday, Siobhain McDonagh criticised Liberal Democrat MPs Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam) and Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) for opposing the NHS's plans while serving in the coalition Government.
Mr Burstow was, until a recent reshuffle by the Prime Minister, a health minister, whereas Mr Brake has just joined the Government as Deputy Leader of the House.
Ms McDonagh told Parliament: “I imagine [Mr Burstow] wanted to stay and to continue to be collectively responsible for St Helier’s demise.
“Then [Mr Brake] decided he was so upset about the plans for St Helier that he would take a principled stand by joining the Government as Deputy to [Andrew Lansley, the former Health Secretary].”
“However, I’m pleased to say the unprincipled shenanigans of Liberal Democrats have not dimmed the community’s opposition to what is happening at St Helier.”
She also lambasted GPs who she said would benefit if St Helier lost its A&E and maternity units.
She said: “Better Services Better Value is led by local GPs, and they clearly have an interest in ensuring more patients use primary care rather than hospitals, whether or not that is what patients want because the money follows the patient.”
Mr Burstow accused the Labour party of “playing politics” with the future of St Helier hospital.
He said: “I have been unflinching in my resolve to save St Helier since the day these plans were announced and will continue to fight these dangerous proposals until they are consigned to history."
Mr Brake said he was “disappointed” with Ms McDonagh’s remarks and that he has been campaigning to save the hospital for over 20 years.
He added: “Just 10 days ago a massive picnic was held opposite St Helier Hospital. I was there campaigning to save the hospital.
“My petition has collected over 8000 signatures. In or out of Government I will fight for the future of our local hospital, my local hospital.'