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Black Country News: Row over axed wards; WALSALL.

HEALTH chiefs today hit back at protesters who accused them of "a stitch up" over a decision to axe hospital wards.

Pete Smith, who spearheaded a campaign to save Goscote Hospital in Walsall, claimed Walsall Teaching Primary Care Trust had decided to close wards before a public consultation on the proposal began. However, spokesman for the TPCT Martin Turner said that complaint was a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

It was revealed yesterday that the trust had decided to close the Ludlow, Edinburgh and Conway wards at Goscote, as well as the stroke rehabilitation centre.

The health chiefs also announced that the planned Walsall Hospice would be built on the hospital site in Goscote Lane, as well as a long-term care centre for the elderly.

Mr Smith claimed yesterday that the public consultation exercise over the proposals, which began in September, had been a "a stitch-up job".

Mr Turner hit back today. He said: "When we began the consultation we rang up Mr Smith and told him what was proposed.

"It was a surprise to him as he thought we were going to sell off the land for housing. "The campaign group he formed decided the consultation process was a sham before it began and so it is a case of the pot calling the kettle black
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 22, 2005
Words:220
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