The issue of Rothbury Community Hospital has recently been raised in your newspaper and I welcome the chance to update your readers of the work I have been doing.
There has been tireless campaigning on this issue for many months and from many different voices, most especially the excellent Save Rothbury Hospital team, led by Katie Scott.
I held a debate in the Chamber of the House of Commons in April, which took this matter directly to Department of Health Ministers. I have written, and consulted with, the Secretary of State, health officials and supported the outstanding work the Rothbury campaign group have undertaken. My most recent meeting with them two weeks ago to discuss the current situation, now that we have convinced Northumberland County Council to send the matter to the Secretary of State, was very constructive.
There are real challenges facing healthcare in north Northumberland.
The needs of an older and sparsely dispersed population creates its own difficulties, so we need to ensure that inpatient provision is maintained at Rothbury Community Hospital so that appropriate, cost-effective, nurse-led care for constituents can be provided for.
We have to work together to build the sustainable solution we all want to see for Rothbury Community Hospital. With this at the forefront of my mind, I have been working tirelessly to tackle this, alongside the matter of long-term underfunding of our rural healthcare budgets, since I was elected for the first time in 2015.
I will be lobbying the Secretary of State in the weeks ahead as his authority is sought for a full review of the unsatisfactory CCG decision to close the 12 beds.
Member of Parliament for Berwick-upon-Tweed