Duffield: We’ll never see a new hospital if there’s no cash

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield speaking in the House of Commons (stock image)

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Rosie Duffield has warned the city will never realise its dream of a new hospital if the government does not provide the cash for it.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, she blamed Conservative government “cuts” for spreading “chaos and sadness” amid local health services.

Developer Mark Quinn has offered to build the shell of a new hospital in Canterbury as part of a major planning proposal for the south of the city which includes 2,000 homes.

But Ms Duffield said it would not happen unless money is made available to properly equip it.

She told Parliament: “In Canterbury at a once thriving hospital, rooms can now be found stacked with old equipment while services that were once removed temporarily look never to be returned

“While proposals are afoot for a new hospital, it won’t be built if the central government funding isn’t there to fill it.

“I’m the only Labour MP in Kent and as such I’m proud to stand up and make a noise against these Conservative cuts that have caused these vital hospital services to disappear here in my county in recent years.”

Earlier this year, Canterbury’s two universities announced that they would begin to develop plans for a new medical school in the city.

Ms Duffield said the school would help drive the change needed, but added that more needed to be done.

She went on: “Currently, if you’re sick in my constituency, you have to travel a long way to Ashford or Margate to get the emergency care that you need.

“Combine an under-funded NHS with a South East Coast Ambulance Trust in special measures and you have the ingredients for chaos and a lot of sadness.

“That’s apparent in all the letters I receive from constituents about the NHS, week in and week out – chaos and sadness.”

Afterwards, Ms Duffield said “so sad that the Conservative benches were almost empty”.


  1. Rosie Duffield should not forget that it was Labour’s Frank Dobson who put the K&C on the slippery slope by trying to downgrade it to a cottage hospital. Thank heavens to CHEK for all the work they did to save some of our services. She is quite right to say that the NHS and the K&C need proper funding so she must acknowledge that only the Lib Dem’s have been honest enough to say they will put a penny on income tax, dedicated to the NHS.
    Finally, it’s not just money. Skilled, trained staff are needed. It will take time to train them. Even if properly paid they don’t grow on trees! Currently our European NHS staff are leaving because they fear for their residential status. So are those from further afield. Labour needs to come clean on Brexit.

  2. Putting a penny on income tax (hypothecated tax) is actually not a great idea. It means ringfencing taxes, and that means allocating services according to the budget available, rather than according to need. Ringfencing taxes causes more problems than it solves; if the revenues from the tax really are used solely to fund a particular activity, spending on that service will fluctuate in an uncertain way as revenues go up and down through the economic cycle. Spending will rise over the long term only as fast as the tax base. These patterns are unlikely to match changes in demand for public services; past spending on the NHS and the delivery of health care compared with the level of NI receipts shows this.

    Two of the factors in the NHS that are gobbling up shameful amounts of money are a) PFI hospitals (we have two in Kent – Darent Valley and Tunbridge Wells); and the enormous sums paid to management consultancies who have been given the job of delivering the Five Year Forward View / STP plans, and selling the cuts in those plans to the public as ‘improvements’. The internal market that has been created within the NHS also requires solicitors and financial advisors, all charging high fees.

    The answer is to end all PFI contracts as soon as is realistically possible, and enter into no more contracts of that kind; stop the implementation of the STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Plans) and put efforts and finances into recruitment, retention and training of staff; stop outsourcing contracts (which will save at least 15% on costs of those services), especially long term 10 and 15 year contracts, and especially to firms that have been shown to fail time and again. Finally, spend more on the NHS. The money is there, not funding the NHS sufficiently is an ideological choice. If conditions improve, staff will stop leaving in droves, and some may even return. And yes, remove any barriers to overseas specialist doctors and nurses being employed by the NHS.


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