Shadow Health Secretary backs Hospital Campaign

MP Greg Knight, campaigner Mick Pilling and Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP with the petition.

See Free Press video interviews with Andrew Lansley MP, Greg Knight MP and campaign group leader Mick Pilling at

By John Edwards  Bridlington Free Press

THE campaign to save the cardiac unit at Bridlington Hospital has recruited its most high-profile backer yet. Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley MP put pen to paper after he toured the building with the town's MP Greg Knight.

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He said the fact so many local people wanted services kept at Bridlington, and the fact it was a view shared by staff and local GPs, had persuaded him to add his voice to the campaign.

Speaking to the Free Press after his visit, Mr Lansley said: "We visited the CMU and I would endorse what one gentleman we met said.

"He said he had only ever been in two hospitals and this one was absolutely magnificent.

"One way you have to measure health services by is by asking 'do the patients get better?' and patients do get better here and there are more services that can come here.

"There is something rather odd when the Government says it has got to be a local decision and then they send the national tsar, employed by the Department Of Health, to tell people what will happen."

Mr Lansley had been invited to visit the hospital by Mr Knight, who is firmly against the trust's plans to move services to Scarborough.

The Tory Shadow Minister also met campaign group chairman Mick Pilling, who has spearheaded the fight to save the cardiac unit, as well as East Riding councillors.

Mr Knight said: "It is very important that Andrew Lansley has come to Bridlington because in two years he may be the Health Minister and the man who actually makes these decisions.

"I'm delighted he has taken the time and the trouble to travel all the way from Cambridge when the Health Secretary, who lives just down the road in Hessle, can't be bothered to.

"If Alan Johnson means it when he says the decisions of local people are important, he ought to listen to the views of the 38,168+ local people and the Bridlington doctors, all of whom want services kept at Bridlington

"He ought to override the decision of the trust. I'm not confident but I live in hope."

l TWO more local Conservative MPs have told Mr Pilling they are supporting his campaign.

Scarborough and Filey MP Robert Goodwill and John Greenway, whose Ryedale constituency covers Malton, have both asked for their names to be added to the petition.

l THE man behind the idea of closing the cardiac unit, health tsar Prof Sir George Alberti, has agreed to meet local GPs today at Bridlington Hospital to answer their concerns about the plan.

Distance from Andrew Lansley's home in Cambridge to Bridlington Hospital 166 miles

Estimated journey time three hours and 46 minutes

Distance from Alan Johnson's home in Hessle to Bridlington Hospital 33 miles

Estimated journey time 50 minutes

Time since the Free Press sent an open letter to Alan Johnson 28 days