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Reforms 'may close hospitals'.

Threat to Dewsbury District

HUGE pressures could force NHS trusts to close hospitals or cut services, the Liberal Democrats said today.

And one of the casualties could be Dewsbury District Hospital.

A study carried out by the party found that 16 hospital trusts in England providing acute services were suffering and government reforms were "seriously destabilising" district general hospitals.

Dewsbury District Hospital is part of the Mid Yorkshire Trust - one of those that the Lib Dems claim are in serious financial difficulties.

The study looked at the 152 hospital trusts in England and ranked them for a range of factors including deficits and the impact of reforms.

West Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs St Albans City Hospital, Hemel Hempstead General Hospital and Watford General Hospital, came out worst.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb said: "Labour has unleashed powerful forces in the NHS through its market-fixated reforms and constantly changing financial arrangements.

"They have created great instability with many hospital trusts facing huge financial pressure.

"Despite ministerial denials, it will be patients who suffer from cuts in frontline services.

"It is a scandal the Government feigns ignorance about the direction of travel for the NHS.

"If ministers are aware that district general hospitals may close, then they should come clean so there can be a genuine debate instead of leaving patients to the mercy of market forces."
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2006
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