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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 14:40 GMT
Government challenged on hospital
Royal Cornwall Hospital
The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust faces an 8.1m debt
A Cornish MP has called on the health secretary either to blame NHS managers for overspends or take responsibility and apologise to staff facing the sack.

About 300 workers at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust will lose their jobs in cost-cutting moves after the trust revealed a deficit of more than 8m.

Lib-Dem St Ives MP Andrew George challenged the government to say why the trust's management has gone wrong.

He added if managers had not done wrong the fault must lie with the government.

The questions are where has that money gone and why are we cutting members of staff
Andrew George MP

Mr George said the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt, should then come to Cornwall personally to apologise to the workers facing redundancy.

About 65% of the budget goes in staff costs, but the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said some operations would also be cancelled with wards and operating theatres closed as part of the cost-cutting plans.

In a Commons debate on Tuesday, Mr George said Cornwall's health service was underfunded compared to other areas.

Health Minister Jane Kennedy argued the county had received resources to improve healthcare.

She said: "There has been a big reduction in mortality rates, and A&E departments have been transformed.

"In the Royal Cornwall Hospital, over 96% of patients are now consistently waiting less than four hours in A&E."

After the debate, Mr George said: "I acknowledge the fact that the government has put record amounts of money into the NHS. The questions are where has that money gone and why are we cutting members of staff, wards and other essential services at this stage."

He added: "The fact is that they have failed to address the problems for Cornwall with a formula of funding that leaves the county worse off than many other parts of the country."

Cuts blamed on 'unfair' funding
08 Mar 06 |  Cornwall
MP's plea on hospital job losses
08 Mar 06 |  Cornwall
Health trust plans 300 job cuts
07 Mar 06 |  Cornwall
NHS boss 'not being forced out'
07 Mar 06 |  Health

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