West Cumbrian MP Jamie Reed has launched a scathing attack on the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who has cancelled his meeting with West Cumbrian Hospital Campaigners at short notice. The meeting was arranged after Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to visit Jamie Reed’s constituency to see for himself the unique challenges facing the NHS in West Cumbria.
Jeremy Hunt’s diary secretary wrote to Jamie Reed MP to cancel the meeting because “Jeremy is likely to have some urgent business”, and suggested that they reschedule for 6th July. This news comes the day after Jeremy Hunt announced his interest in standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party.
In his response to the Health Secretary’s cancellation, Jamie Reed MP wrote “if this meeting has been cancelled, at such short notice, so that the Health Secretary can focus on his much publicised personal ambitions with regard to the leadership of the Conservative Party, then this will be seen by my community as the insult it surely is.”
Jamie Reed MP still plans to lead health campaigners to the Department of Health tomorrow, where they will hand deliver a letter for the Health Secretary, and meet with Ben Gummer MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Quality.
Copeland MP Jamie Reed said:
“First Jeremy Hunt refused to come to us despite visiting Lancaster recently, so we planned to go to him. Now he has cancelled our meeting.
“Local hospital campaigners have put considerable effort into planning for the meeting, and they have bought their tickets to make the twelve hour round trip to London. I have asked the Health Secretary to provide a refund for these tickets and/or purchase new tickets for the campaigners to attend the rescheduled meeting.
“If the meeting has been cancelled, at such short notice, so that the Health Secretary can focus on his much publicised personal ambitions with regard to the leadership of the Conservative party, then this will be seen by our community as the insult it surely is.
“Together, the campaigners and I will visit the Department of Health together tomorrow, to hand deliver a letter for the Health Secretary. Here in West Cumbria, campaigners, patients, staff, families and the whole community are working together to build a bright future for our local Health Services. Jeremy Hunt cannot and must not continue to ignore our calls for Government to provide us with the resources that we need to realise our potential.”
The wording of Jamie Reed’s email, sent to Jeremy Hunt’s diary Secretary, is as follows:
Thank you for your email in which you explain that the Health Secretary is no longer able to meet with me and representatives of local health service campaigners tomorrow. This follows his refusal to visit West Cumbria to see for himself the unique challenges facing the NHS in our part of the world, though I note he was able to travel to Lancaster recently.
The local people due to attend the meeting have spent in the region of £100 each to buy their tickets for the twelve-hour round journey tomorrow. That’s a significant amount of money and I do not expect them to spend any more of their personal funds.
I would be grateful if you will confirm that the Health Secretary will now refund the West Cumbrian campaigners and/or purchase their train tickets for next week so that they can have the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns about our local Health services directly to the Health Secretary.
Please note that if this meeting has been cancelled, at such short notice, so that the Health Secretary can focus on his much publicised personal ambitions with regard to the leadership of the Conservative Party, then this will be seen by my community as the insult it surely is.
Jamie Reed MP