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Tom Brake

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington


Brake Puts Blair Under the Spotlight on Light-Bulbs

February 22, 2007 12:42 PM

In Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, Tom Brake MP for Carshalton and Wallington challenged the Prime Minister to explain why St Helier Hospital has taken out every third light-bulb as a cost-cutting measure.

Tom said, "Can the Prime Minister explain why after increased investment in the NHS, my local NHS trust has to slash £24 million from its budget in the next 18 months, and has resorted to removing one in three light bulbs in St. Helier hospital to cut costs,"

The Prime Minister's reply was depressing bland referring to hospitals having to live within their means.

Commenting on the PM's response, Tom said, "The Prime Minister made no attempt to explain what's gone so badly wrong in the NHS that our hospitals are having to disconnect light bulbs to save money. The Prime Minister cannot continue to stick his head in the sand. Parts of the NHS are in meltdown and his government needs to get a grip."

Mr Blair's response to Mr Brake's question was, "Whatever the level of investment, each trust-and this is the whole point about making sure that we have proper financial transparency in the health service-must live within its means. There has been a massive increase in investment, and as a result, waiting lists have fallen dramatically in the hon. Gentleman's area, as in others; cancer treatment has improved; cardiac treatment has improved; and accident and emergency treatment has improved. Despite all of that, it is correct that trusts must live within their financial means-I am afraid that that is the case, no matter what amount of money goes in, and it is a lesson that the Liberal Democrats must learn."