Lib Dem hospital lies exposed by NHS trust chief’s comments

Southport Lib Dems have been accused of “lies, scaremongering and reckless behaviour” by their Labour opponents after recent comments by the departing local NHS Trust chief.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust Chief Executive Silas Nicholls revealed that he backed Liz Savage’s campaign for a walk-in centre for Southport in addition to the local A&E, saying:

“I think it would help ease the burden here considerably to have a Southport walk-in centre in addition to the A&E. I know that the local CCG has its own funding issues but I also know what would help our A&E here, so I wish the campaign for the walk-in centre every success.”

Speaking to shortly before leaving his post here to become chief executive move at Wrightington, Leigh and Wigan NHS Trust, the NHS boss also said that the hospital’s efforts at recruitment were being hampered by scare stories of plans to move the hospital to Skelmersdale.

Local Liberal Democrats have repeatedly touted the idea claiming it is a “Labour plan” in their leaflets and campaigning – despite frequent denials from both Labour and the trust chief that there is any such scheme. Mr Nicholls explained:

“When scare stories of closure or moving to other areas are touted it adds confusion and uncertainty to both patients, staff and potential employees. Who is going to take a job that they think is already under threat? It’s just nonsense to rumourmonger about moving to places like Skelmersdale and very counter-productive.”

Labour’s Southport parliamentary candidate Liz Savage says the comments reveal the extent of local Lib Dem deceit:

“The Lib Dems have tried to falsely claim my walk-in centre campaign would mean our A&E would be lost but it has always been in addition to it and to help ease the burden on it.”

“Purely for their own selfish political reasons, the Lib Dems try to spin it and undermine something that the local NHS trust chief says would really help the A&E. They are doing the hospital and town a terrible disservice by this.” 

“Likewise, they have taken a comment by one single Lancashire councillor that he’d like to see any new hospital built in his patch, and what councillor wouldn’t, and then tried to concoct a story that it is a Labour plan.”

“Again this is utterly false and entirely for their own political advantage – despite it risking undermining the trust’s recruitment efforts and so preventing vacancies being filled at a time when the hospital is short-staffed.”

“They are not helping the hospital, they are undermining it. They are not saving the hospital, they are endangering it and they are not looking out for anything but their own interests.”

“It’s simply lies, scaremongering and reckless behaviour from them and they don’t care about the consequences as long as they think they can scrape a vote or two from fear out of it.”

The Labour candidate also highlighted the trust chief’s comment that the hospital was not under imminent threat but it had long term funding issues that were not being addressed by the government. She continued:

“On his recent visit to Southport Hospital, Health Secretary Matt Hancock left the town’s Tory MP badly exposed when he rather baldly stated that there would be no funding for the trust’s preferred option of a new build hospital.”

“Silas Nicholls revealed though that over £30m is needed in funding just to bring the trust’s sites up to scratch – and that the money isn’t forthcoming for that either. So much for Boris Johnson’s claims of cash for the NHS.”

“The Tories and Lib Dems together through their 2012 Health and Social Care Act have wrought considerable damage on the NHS. We want to see our services improved at the hospital and its future secure.”

“Only a Labour government will achieve that. We built the NHS, we will rebuild it too after years of underfunding, understaffing and increasing privatisation under the Tories and Lib Dems. You can be sure of that.”

You can sign the petition for a walk-in centre for Southport here. 

Liz Savage with Trust Chief Silas Nicholls