Ruffley says Matrons to lead battle against hospital "superbugs"

Monday, 21 February, 2005

New plans outlined by local Conservatives to clean up hospitals and cut waiting lists in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket

David Ruffley MP this week backed the action plan unveiled by Conservatives to improve hospitals in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket and across the country, including ending waiting lists and clamping down on dirty wards which are breeding grounds for dangerous 'superbugs' like MRSA. The plans are detailed in Conservatives' new health manifesto.

David explained:

'Mr Blair has spent billions of pounds of taxpayers' money, but today there are too many bureaucrats, too many dirty hospitals and too many people waiting for treatment. Despite the hard work and professionalism of our doctors and nurses, the NHS is failing many people who have been forgotten by Labour.

'I am very concerned that many people in Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, like pensioners, are now worried about entering hospital because of fears about catching superbugs. Vulnerable people need the peace of mind that they will be treated quickly in clean hospitals.

'I do, of course welcome the slight fall to 37 in the number of MRSA reports in West Suffolk in 2003-04 but that is still too many people becoming infected in our local hospitals.'

The manifesto includes a number of measures to increase the quality and quantity of health care across West and Central Suffolk including:

• Cleaner hospitals: Matrons will be re-introduced so that there is one person in each hospital responsible for delivering a clean and safe environment in hospitals. Inspection teams will also be given the authority to close wards and overrule managers.

• Shorter waiting lists: Patients will be given the Right to Choose any NHS hospital. In addition, patients will be able to be treated, without charge, at any independent hospital that costs the same as the NHS. We will also contribute towards patients who choose a more expensive independent hospital, so freeing up the NHS to cut waiting lists.

• Extra money, better value: By the end of the next Parliament, health spending will be £34 billion more than the level to be inherited from Labour. But it will be spent better. Strategic Health authorities would go and the Primary Care Trusts would be streamlined which would release £1.3 billion for further investment on the front line.

• Long-term care: We will ensure that no-one has to sell their home to pay for long-term care fees.

• More NHS dentists: We will provide a framework for NHS dentistry, attractive to dentists and affordable and accessible to patients. We will seek to reverse the decline in the number of people registered with an NHS dentist since 1997.

David concluded:

'Another term under Mr Blair would mean that patients would go on waiting and hospitals wouldn't get any cleaner. Voters face a clear choice at the election. Cleaner hospitals and shorter waiting lists with Conservatives, or dirty hospitals and longer waiting lists under Mr Blair.'