Campaigners battling to save a crucial community hospital in Lutterworth are welcoming their local MP’s breakthrough move to meet new Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
Mary Guppy, 78, hailed it as a “positive” step forward as South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa prepares to hold critical talks with the top Minister over the town’s Feilding Palmer Hospital.
The Conservative MP is hoping to secure the Victorian cottage hospital’s future after it’s been threatened with the axe by regional NHS chiefs for the last few years.
“This has got to be a hugely positive thing.
“We are in constant touch with Alberto as we fight to save our hospital,” Mary told the Harborough Mail.
“And I’m sure he’s doing all he can to get behind our mission.
“I just hope that our new Health Secretary Sajid Javid listens very closely to what Alberto has to say and takes it all on board.
“We all know and realise that Feilding Palmer Hospital needs seriously remodernising and bringing into the 21st century.
“But it’s a priceless asset to our community right across South Leicestershire and we cannot afford to lose it.
“And it’s proved its immense worth throughout the coronavirus pandemic as its been a great success as a vaccination hub for our district.
“We need a hospital in Lutterworth,” said Mary, of nearby South Kilworth.
“Feilding Palmer must be totally modernised and go forward as a hospital, not just another health centre.
“We have an increasingly ageing population and many elderly people just cannot get to hospitals in Rugby or Leicester.
“We also have many more people moving into our area – not least with the new Lutterworth East development,” said Mary.
“So we need our own easily-accessible hospital here on our doorsteps more than ever.
“It’s also imperative that we have our own hospital beds.
“At the moment we only have 10 – but I’d like to see at least 30 with bang-up-to-date facilities, equipment and resources.”
Speaking in the Covid-19 Update statement in the House of Commons, Alberto asked Mr Javid to meet him in a bid to safeguard the future of the 122-year-old Feilding Palmer Hospital.
The new Health Secretary said he “recognised the importance of local hospitals” and backed the “fantastic job” being done by NHS staff and volunteers at the Feilding Palmer Hospital in giving people Covid jabs.
“I was delighted to welcome the new Health Secretary to his place in the House of Commons and to secure a commitment from him to meet in order to discuss the future of the Feilding Palmer Hospital in Lutterworth.
“The town’s hospital is vital to the health and wellbeing of my constituents in South Leicestershire and provides an excellent service to the people of the county,” said Alberto.
“I was very pleased to secure the reopening of the Feilding Palmer Hospital earlier this year following its temporary closure.
“The hospital has proved its tremendous worth over the last six months in operating as a crucially-important Hospital Vaccination Hub for my constituents and many others.
“As such, I look forward to meeting with the new Health Secretary to ensure the hospital returns to full operational capacity as soon as it safe to do so - and to ensure that the future of the hospital is guaranteed for the long-term future.”