West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper was called by the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask a question of the Prime Minister at Wednesday’s PMQs.
MP Rosie took the opportunity to challenge Theresa May over the Government’s plans to invest in building new hospitals, while sites such as Ormskirk are being underutilised.
In March the Health Secretary pledged to build a new hospital every year, while locally Southport and Ormskirk Hospital are investigating their options as part of a Trust-wide review of services, with potential for Southport to become a “hot site” leaving Ormskirk as a “cold site”.
Rosie Cooper MP said:
“One of the biggest ever reviews into services offered by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust and where they are located is now underway.
“I have previously stated that I will never accept any move or proposal to downgrade or close Ormskirk Hospital, and will defend our local health service.
“This Government has shown that there is money available for investment in the NHS, so it is clear to me that the money is best spent expanding current sites to better meet patient demand, which is a far cheaper option than building new sites altogether.
“I was pleased with the Prime Minister’s response and we must agree that decisions should take serious account of local interests with clinicians putting forward the best proposals for patients.”
I am delighted to be in my place to be able to ask the Prime Minister a question. So, to the question—to business. Does the Prime Minister agree that, as part of the Government’s attempt to expand capacity in the NHS, existing sites such as Ormskirk hospital in my constituency, where there is capacity to build an extra floor, should be prioritised for expansion ahead of simply building a new hospital at much greater cost, depriving the NHS of much needed investment which should go into patients and staffing?
The hon. Lady raised an issue to do with the NHS and Ormskirk hospital. As she will know, we are putting that extra funding into the national health service: £20 billion a year in real terms by 2023-24. We will have funding available not just to build sites but, as she says, to improve current and existing facilities across the country. On Ormskirk hospital, I understand the Northern England Clinical Senate has issued a report making proposals around the provision of emergency services there. No decisions have been made—that is a matter, of course, for the NHS—but as we look to the long-term plan, I want NHS clinicians to come forward with the best proposals for patients and to take account of local interests such as those the hon. Lady has raised.