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MPs set to fight for Specialist Orthopaedic Hospitals

Newsdate: 8th August 2006

A number of MPs has set up an All-Party Group to support the country's five specialist orthopaedic hospitals - which include the Wrightington Hospital part of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust.

Andrew Smith MP for Oxford East, who chairs the group, explained, "The way these hospitals are funded for their most complex work is a mess, with these hospitals making huge financial losses on all their most complex work - for example dealing with bone infections and rare bone cancers. 

The Department of Health has put temporary additional funding in place but this is due to end in 2008.  This leaves many of the hospitals unable to make long term plans - for example, one has failed in a bid to become a foundation trust, and another has been refused permission to build urgently needed new facilities.

The Group has now asked for a meeting with Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health in a bid to resolve the situation.

Mr Smith said: "We've requested a meeting with the Secretary of State, to get an explanation of the Department's plans to resolve this threat to the future of these vital specialist hospitals."

Worse than this, the Wrightington Hospital receives no temporary funding to make good these losses and the Department of Health apparently expects the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust to simply absorb these losses.

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