Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 21:44 UK

Wyre Forest candidates back return of Kidderminster A&E

Dr Richard Taylor
Dr Taylor was elected in 2001 on a single issue to save hospital services

Candidates in Wyre Forest have pledged to fight for the return of more services to Kidderminster Hospital.

Dr Richard Taylor won the seat as an independent in 2001 fighting on a single issue to restore the hospital's A&E service that was removed in 2000.

Dr Taylor said he had made a good start but had more work left to do.

The Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservative candidates said they wanted to recover local health services by securing more government funding.

'Tremendous struggle'

Dr Taylor said he had used his time in Parliament to get a better out-of hours health service for the area but it was going to be a long struggle to recover full A&E services.

The A&E was downgraded by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust in 2000 as part of a strategic re-organisation and services were transferred to Worcestershire Royal Infirmary.

Dr Taylor said: "To get back a full A&E department demands getting back as well, surgical emergencies, medical emergencies, and in-patient beds. So it is a tremendous struggle and we've got to fight for it bit by bit.

"The next stage in our fight has got to be at least a doctor in the minor injuries unit and the GP out-of-hours centre 24-hours-a -day. If that happens we will decrease the load on the A&E department in Worcester and it will be good for the whole county," he added.

Tory candidate Mark Garnier said no political party in Wyre Forest had a monopoly on wanting to restore services at Kidderminster Hospital.

Supportive approach

"All of us, without exception, are very keen to enlarge the services at Kidderminster Hospital. Over the last six years or so we've seen maternity services have gone, in the last year or so we've also seen the doctors go from the minor injuries unit."

He said a new approach was needed. "It isn't a fight to get things back it's not about fighting with the acute hospitals trust, but working with them to make sure they are fully supported to bring back services."

He said the way to achieve that aim was to secure more cash from central government for the NHS budget.

Residents' petition

Labour's Nigel Knowles said the way to secure more cash for Kidderminster Hospital was by ensuring its existing services were sustainable and the hospital was capable of having more services on site.

He said he thought there was money left over from the 2010/20011 budget for new services.

"What I wanted to see was a radiotherapy unit and a birthing unit, also a palliative care unit, and I have run a campaign for three years with 10,000 people signing a petition to see more services for Kidderminster Hospital.

Neville Farmer, for the Lib Dems, said the way to secure funds for the hospital was to support Worcestershire's Foundation Trust bid.

'Democratic board'

He said: "Worcestershire is fighting for Foundation Trust status.

"Although the Liberal Democrats in principle don't like them because they skew the balance for different areas and you end up with a post code lottery, from Wyre Forest's point of view, I think we are willing to fight to make sure that is as strong as it possibly can be."

He said he wanted a more democratic approach to the way health care was run, which included more elected members of the hospital trust's health board.

The candidates announced for Wyre Forest are: The Liberal Democrats: Neville Farmer; Conservative Party: Mark Garnier; British National Party: Gordon Howells , Labour Party: Nigel Knowles; Independent Community and Health Concern: Richard Taylor; UK Independence Party: Michael Wrench.

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