Ruffley's House of Commons probing reveals 42 percent increase in West Suffolk A & E attendances<br/><i>"We simply cannot lose this vital service"</i>

Friday, 15 December, 2006

David Ruffley MP has today released new House of Commons figures he received in answer to his questioning of Andy Burnham, Minister of State at the Department of Health.

Between 1996-97 and 2005-06 total Accident and Emergency attendances at the West Suffolk Hospital have increased by a staggering 42 percent.

There were 31,659 attendances in 1996-97 compared with 44,831 in 2005-06- an increase of 13,172 people.

David said: 'I am absolutely staggered that at a time when it is rumoured the A & E at the West Suffolk may be closed overnight that the minister refuses to answer my question about attendances outside the hours of 8am to 8pm. It must mean they are on weak ground if they don't know.'

The current Strategic Health Authority review of health care provision across the region could threaten 24 hour Accident and Emergency cover at West Suffolk Hospital.

David has been campaigning vigorously in support of the Hospital and Suffolk's hard working healthcare professionals and recently invited David Cameron, Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, to meet staff at the West Suffolk Hospital.

This week David launched an online petition to save the Accident & Emergency Department on his website www.tellDavidRuffley.com which he intends to present to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and in the House of Commons.

David said:

'These figures speak for themselves. How can this Government possibly endorse the closure of an A & E Department that has seen an increase in attendances of 42 percent since 1996-97.

'If we lose our local A & E where would the 45,000 people that attend the department every year go?

'Ipswich Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital are both over 29 miles from the West Suffolk- that is roughly a 40 minute journey and is the sort of distance that can costs lives.

'When I invited David Cameron to join me on a visit to the West Suffolk Hospital Accident and Emergency Department one thing was abundantly clear: the hard working nurses, doctors and support staff in our NHS care so passionately about what they do and they deserve our unstinting support.

'I will be fighting tooth and nail to keep the A & E at the West Suffolk open and I would encourage members of the public to sign my online petition to keep the our local Accident and Emergency Department open at www.tellDavidRuffley.com.

'The people of Suffolk hold their NHS in the highest regard and I intend to show this Government just how deeply we all care about this issue when I present the petition to the Prime Minister and in the House of Commons.

'The NHS in Suffolk is in crisis and the next few months will be crucial to securing its future.

'The Health Secretary recently stated that areas such as Suffolk deserve less money for their health service.

'To make matters worse not only is Suffolk getting short changed but the way the funding is decided is convoluted, obscure, secretive and dreamt up in the corridors of the Department of Health for political expediency.

'We in Suffolk are currently talking about the very future of Accident and Emergency care at the West Suffolk Hospital and this Government is responsible.