Simplest and quickest

PUBLISHED: 08:55 17 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:36 24 May 2010

I'M PLEASED Mike Bell's letter last week in the Mercury agrees with me that Weston Hospital and the local Primary Care Trust need extra Government cash, and that we'll be linking hands across the political divide in future to achieve it. But I'm sad he c

I'M PLEASED Mike Bell's letter last week in the Mercury agrees with me that Weston Hospital and the local Primary Care Trust need extra Government cash, and that we'll be linking hands across the political divide in future to achieve it. But I'm sad he can't see that, under the current system, the Government's new 'Payment By Results' funding system is the simplest and quickest way of solving the problem. He's entitled to his political opinions, of course, but I'm afraid he's putting political theories ahead of practical reality. The hospital management, the local Primary Care Trust, Health Minister Patricia Hewitt and the Prime Minister all agree that Weston would get more cash under the new scheme. Scrapping it, as Mike Bell suggests, would mean we'd lose all the extra cash which it would bring. That would mean longer waiting times for treatment, more trips to Bristol from Taunton for routine operations which should be done in Weston, and overflowing wards at the hospital. Political theory is all very well, but it won't treat any patients. Local people want more GPs and a bigger hospital, and I think they're entitled to them. I'm pleased Mike Bell agrees with me about the need for better health funding at least, and I hope we can work together to achieve it in future.JOHN PENROSE MP - Weston

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