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Nellist Continues Fight For Two Upgraded Hospitals

Socialist councillor Dave Nellist has promised to continue his fight to retain two upgraded hospitals in Coventry instead of the single super health complex favoured by the City Council and the Walsgrave NHS Trust.

Consultation on the siting of the new hospital closes at the end of February but Mr Nellist, a former Labour MP, said:

"Our campaign does not stop when the consultation ends. It will go on and on for months, probably for years.

He says:

"The best option has not been put properly to the people of Coventry which is to modernise and refurbish the two NHS hospitals we have got, rather than to demolish them to build a smaller, privately owned hospital in a location no one wants."

He said that he and his followers had been campaigning for six years adding:

"We have collected 130,000 signatures since July 1992 when it was first announced that they were going to shove everything up to Walsgrave. We think there is a majority of people who want both hospitals.

"We had five hospitals in the city a few years ago. The Paybody Eye Hospital was transferred to Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital at a cost of 4 million and the old site has now been sold to a brewery.

"Whitley Hospital was closed and supposed to become a retirement village for the elderly – it is now a supermarket.

"Gulson Hospital was sold to the university for a library. Now they want to close another.

"The new hospital will have fewer beds and less staff. On the basis of what has happened elsewhere, in Edinburgh for example, I calculate there will be 169 fewer beds and about 1,000 jobs switching across to the private sector with prospect of lower wages and conditions.

"These so-called super hospitals can only be economically viable with a catchment area of 500,000 patients or customers. To have that they would need to demolish St Cross Hospital at Rugby and the George Eliot Hospital at Nuneaton."

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CWN / Health / The Coventry Superhospital Debate / 26 Feb 99

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