Labour could scrap the £480 million modernisation of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, a Conservative candidate said today (Monday 4 May).
The warning came from Simon Kirby, who hopes to hold the Brighton Kemptown seat that he won from Labour five years ago. The constituency includes the Royal Sussex.
He said that if Ed Miliband formed a coalition with the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), money for projects in the south east of England could go to schemes north of the border.
Mr Kirby said that this could be part of the price exacted by the Scots Nats for supporting a minority Labour government.
He said that he had lobbied hard to persuade the government to approve the ten-year modernisation project.
And that for all Labour’s talk about the NHS, the party could reallocate the budget for the Royal Sussex revamp to fund projects backed by the SNP as part of a deal.
Mr Kirby said that the only way that staff and patients could be sure of having a 21st century Royal Sussex was by returning him to Parliament and electing a Conservative government.
He spoke out on the day that Labour leader Ed Miliband said that the future of the NHS was at risk in a way that it hasn’t been in a generation.
Mr Miliband was joined on his visit to Brighton and Hove by Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and TV cook Delia Smith.
The Labour leader rallied supporters at Brighton, Hove and Sussex VI Form College (BHASVIC).
He said that the NHS was fighting for its life and added: “We have got a government that has overseen a creeping privatisation with precious NHS resources.”
Labour Brighton Kemptown candidate Nancy Platts added: “Conservative candidate Simon Kirby must come clean: is the funding for the new Sussex County Hospital redevelopment secured and locked in as he’s promised or not? If so, why is he spreading uncertainty and if not, why has he claimed it as a success in his election leaflets?
“His promises regarding local NHS services have proved to be over stated in the past. The 5500 patients at the Eaton Road Surgery learnt that the hard way when he claimed that the practice was safe and he’d cut a deal to save it. It wasn’t true. The surgery has now closed and thousands have had to find new GPs and because many other GPs are over-subscribed, hundreds of local residents now don’t have a doctor within easy walking distance of their home.
“Simon Kirby’s record speaks for itself. He voted for the needless reorganisation of the NHS that cost billions and privatisation of our NHS. Under his watch nurses, midwives and other health care staff and others that work tirelessly every day to provide the NHS we all rely on, missed out on a pay rise and are now struggling to pay their bills.
“The NHS is not a political football and he should be honest with the people of Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven – has he secured the funding or not?”