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MP Henry Smith defends his efforts to get Crawley a new hospital

By Crawley News  |  Posted: February 07, 2014

By Chris Ballinger

PROMISES, PROMISES:  Crawley MP Henry Smith says he is still fighting to get a new hospital for the town

PROMISES, PROMISES: Crawley MP Henry Smith says he is still fighting to get a new hospital for the town

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HENRY Smith has defended his efforts to open a new hospital in the town, in response to criticism that he has failed to deliver on promises made before he was elected as Crawley's MP.

Last week the Crawley News published a letter by reader Alison Cornell, who questioned whether Mr Smith had forgotten about the pledges he had made.

Mr Smith formed the Campaign for Pease Pottage Hospital alongside Horsham MP Francis Maude, and during the 2010 General Election campaign said thatb bringing a new hospital to Crawley was his "top issue".

The Crawley News has received two further letters this week from residents, accusing Mr Smith of a "lack of effort".

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But the MP says health services have returned to Crawley Hospital since he was elected, with more to come this year.

And he insists a new hospital remains on the agenda.

Mr Smith said: "If we look at this in context, in 2001 maternity services were removed from Crawley, and in 2005 A&E was taken from Crawley Hospital and transferred to East Surrey Hospital.

"Both of these decisions happened under a Labour Government and when Crawley had a Labour member of parliament.

"I personally think these were the two worst decisions that have ever been taken in Crawley new town's history.

"In the run-up to the 2010 election it was clear we needed a new hospital and that is still my belief.

"I have met with the Health Secretary and raised the issue in the House of Commons on numerous occasions. A new hospital in Crawley has always been on my agenda."

Mr Smith added that steps are being taken to bring an A&E unit to Crawley "in all but name", while talks have been held about midwife services returning to the town.

"Health care improvements have been made in Crawley in the last four years," he said.

"The local NHS has significantly changed in the last three years and we are now seeing decisions being made by doctors based in Crawley.

"This week the brand new Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group's headquarters have opened in Crawley Hospital bringing the decision makers as close to the frontline as possible.

"Services has been coming back to Crawley. I opened a new digital mammography unit at Crawley Hospital, representing a shift in cancer services coming to the town.

"Later this year all muscular skeletal conditions will be treated from Crawley Hospital for everyone across West Sussex and East Surrey.

"The Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital will be extended to treat up to 90 per cent of cases that people go to A&E for."

As a patron of the Royal College of Midwives, Mr Smith says he has also held talks about bringing midwife services back to Crawley.

He added: "It is still my long term aim to have a brand new hospital.

"I want residents who have any type of accident or illness to be able to be treated in Crawley.

"Crawley is the centre of the health area and I maintain that Pease Pottage is still the best option."

Do you think Henry Smith could do more to get a new hospital for Crawley or do you blame the previous Labour government for moving services in the first place? E-mail your views to editor@crawleynews.co.uk

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  • Richard20101  |  February 07 2014, 12:00PM

    The moral & political hypocrisy of our Tory MP, and weazel words, beggar belief. Again, he is trying it on about the new hospital - this time we won't be duped. He states a Hospital, but never a full NHS hospital. That in itself is cause for deep scepticism about his political promises. And was he ever at any og the marches when Crawley NHS Hospital was losing its A & E & Maternity. No, he was not. I was there, and others. Henry Smith should be drowning in his own hypocrisy.

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