Political row breaks out after Brent Council suggest ‘a complete closure of hospitals’
Lib Dems slam Labour for suggestion following plans to close Central Middlesex Hospital’s casualty unit
Council chiefs have been dubbed hypocrites after it emerged they suggested a ‘complete closure of hospitals’ in consultation plans to axe accident and emergency units.
Warring political rivals have taken jabs at each other with the borough’s Lib Dem group accusing Cllr Muhammed Butt, Labour leader of Brent Council, of ‘posturing’ when he attend a rally against the closure of Central Middlesex Hospital’s A&E unit organised by campaigners.
Cllr Paul Lorber, leader of Brent’s Lib Dems, said: “Posturing Cllr Butt is saying something in public and doing something else in private.”
However, Cllr Butt pledge his backing of the campaign adding that Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central, was absent from the march, which took place last month, despite the closures affecting her constituents.
He said: “Where is she today? Shame on her for not actually coming and supporting the community!”
The political row broke out after Brent Council said an option for complete closure of hospitals with the transfer of resources to community services would have been helpful, when asked whether there were any alternatives it would have liked included in a consultation.
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Cllr Butt defended the actions as a demand for transparency from health bosses.
He said: “We are asking the Government to lay out all the potential options, so that we can plan for the best and worst case scenarios.
“Brent Council and the Labour Party will fight the closures in Brent all the way, but the Government needs to be more honest about the options it is considering, and upfront about the effects these might have on the health of our residents.”
Cllr Lorber said he was prepared to let health professionals make the decision, adding: “If there is a choice between keeping open an under-used A&E or investing money into better specialist care, more ambulances and better trained paramedics, my preference would be the latter.
“I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon without actually taking into account the real health issues.”