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[19 JAN 99]  GEOFFREY ROBINSON MP NEWS
Statements From Geoffrey Robinson And John Fletcher

STATEMENT FROM GEOFFREY ROBINSON. MP.

Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson has made clear that his preference for Coventry's new super hospital is that it be built within the city centre on the site of the existing Coventry and Warwickshire hospital.

Mr Robinson, MP for Coventry North West, has pledged to do all within his power to secure the private finance initiative project on the central site, and says such a development is fundamental to the provision of efficient and effective healthcare for the people of Coventry for perhaps the next 50 years.

"I am committed to securing a brand new super hospital for Coventry. I have heard the arguments for both sites, at the heart of the city or out on the Walsgrave site. The city centre site offers the maximum potential for a hospital of excellence. I do not believe speculation that taking the time to resolve outstanding issues on the Coventry and Warwickshire site could wreck a PFI project for our city. That just is not true. I do believe it is worth spending time now to ensure that this city gets a hospital that will serve the community for as long as 50 years.

"The decisions to be made within the next two or three months will have far reaching implications. It is crucial that everyone involved in making the choices now, thinks ahead and makes the decisions that will guarantee the benefits that future generations deserve to enjoy.

"A city centre hospital will also satisfy the views of an overwhelming majority of my constituents and of Coventry people as a whole.

"A city centre hospital will not only meet the health care needs and aspirations of Coventry people now and into the future, it will also make an important contribution to the creation of a city for the new millennium.

"It will send a clear message of physical regeneration at the heart of the city, and it will promote the social regeneration of the Hillfields and Foleshill areas. A city centre site will best serve the demands of access and transportation. The government is very clear in its planning guidelines about the location of major health and social care provision - the city centre option best meets the criteria.

"Under Labour the PFI scheme has really begun to work and in choosing the city centre site Coventry will once more be leading the way as towns and cities across the country prepare their strategic plans for health care provision.

"Coventry is not the only city to have two potential sites, one city centre and one on the edge, where a new hospital could be developed. But in choosing the city centre option Coventry will reinforce that PFI is not just about developing greenfield sites. If PFI is to achieve a genuine contribution to public service provision that improves the quality of life for our people, it must respond to regeneration of our cities and urban areas.

"I shall be doing all I can at local and national level to deliver a PFI financed city centre superhospital for Coventry."

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STATEMENT FROM JOHN FLETCHER. LEADER OF COVENTRY CITY COUNCIL

Coventry City Council has welcomed the unequivocal support of MP Geoffrey Robinson for the new superhospital to be built in the city centre, on the site of the existing Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital.

Council leader John Fletcher said:

"Geoffrey Robinson's support is very welcome.

"I am particularly pleased that Geoffrey has been able to state so clearly that spending a little time to ensure the city centre site is achievable is not going to cost Coventry its hospital.

"Geoffrey was responsible for private finance initiatives as a minister, and knows better than anyone what can and cannot be done.

"Suggestions that any delay will mean no hospital are clearly groundless, and create wholly unnecessary fear that Coventry's people may miss out if we are not rushed into picking a site.

"The site for the new hospital cannot be chosen lightly. The decision needs to be taken in the interests of the city as a whole, and it is clear that Coventry people want their new hospital in the city centre.

"A city centre site would best serve the community. It will play a vital part in the overall regeneration plans for Coventry, and at the heart of the city it will be easily accessible to patients, staff and visitors.

"The city council will continue to do all it can to see the new hospital built in the city centre."
    

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CWN / Politics / MPs / Geoffrey Robinson / 19 Jan 99

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