Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cameron Visit Sandwell, Report Condemns Plans

A lot of national news stories relevant to the campaign hit the news today. The Stirrer has an excellent article here including an interview with Ken Taylor over the criticism of A&E closures by the Medical Care Research Unit at Sheffield University.

Also, David Cameron visited Sandwell Hospital today amid criticism by the press over his claims that 29 district general hospital are facing cuts to emergency and maternity services. One of the 29 hospitals the Conservatives are referring to is City Hospital, Birmingham.

Now I do not know about the other hospitals, but the mainstream media coverage seem to be getting bogged down in petty political points scoring. Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust are quoted here on the BBC in the following manner:

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust said there was "no threat" to the accident and emergency department nor the maternity unit at City Hospital in Birmingham.

Trusts react

Other NHS trusts have also contradicted the Conservative claims.

Quite frankly, I think this is sloppy reporting. It is an indisputable fact that emergency general trauma and surgery and emergency paediatric services are under grave threat at City Hospital. Anyone who says otherwise has not done their homework. The Trust delivered a typical communications tactic of concentrating on what is not changing at the hospital, and the national BBC reporter has fallen for this line hook line and sinker (this is in contrast to the excellent local BBC reporting of the issues on the Radio WM, Midlands Today and the Politics Show who have sought balance by interviewing both the Trust and the City Hospital Supporters Group in an attempt to get to the truth.

In other news it seems this site has been blocked by the Trust, so you will have to access this site at home in future to keep up with campaign news. If you are reading this, I guess you already knew that. (Update 28/08: This site seems to be accessible from Trust computers again. Someone must be paying attention!)



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