Fears over downgrading of community hospitals

Labour and coalition backbenchers have clashed in The House of Commons over the future of smaller hospitals in the Tees Valley area and at the Friarage District Hospital in North Yorkshire.

The Teesside MP, Tom Blenkinsop, pointed to the closure of the Chaloner ward at Guisborough Hospital, the reduction of minor injuries provision and the downgrading of paediatric and maternity services at the Friarage. The latter is in the constituency of the Foreign Secretary William Hague.

MPs pointed out that 3,000 beds in community hospitals were lost under the last Labour administration. The Lib Dem MP for Redcar, Ian Swales, added that the maternity unit at Guisborough had been closed as far back as 2006.