May 19 2013 Latest news:
Max Walters, Reporter
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Sarah Teather refuses to speak to the Times about controversial proposal affecting her constituents
An MP has refused to speak to the Times about how she plans to tackle the controversial decision to close an accident and emergency ward used by hundreds of her constituents.
Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central, declined a one- on-one interview on the plans to axe the casualty ward at Central Middlesex Hospital.
The £62m department, which was only built six years ago, will close under the Shaping a Healthier Future programme after it was admitted by health chiefs that it was not financially viable.
Despite previously speaking directly to the Times on the issue, a spokesman for Miss Teather, who is also the minister for children and families, said she was busy with ministerial duties.
He added that she had been accused of scare-mongering by Labour politicians when she raised the possibility of the department closing in the past.
After declining an interview with the Times, she released a statement in which she said she would be speaking to hospital chiefs about the plans.
She added: “Previous bad decisions to move services away from Central Middlesex Hospital have undermined the sustainability of an on-site A&E that can deal with the most serious cases.
“I was given assurances that the A&E at Central Middlesex would not close, but this is exactly the situation my constituents now face.”
However, Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the Labour run Brent Council branded Ms Teather “hypocritical’ and claimed now was the best time for her to come out in support of residents.
He said: “The rank hypocrisy of Sarah Teather on this issue is the worst I have ever witnessed from a politician.
“She could have come forward at any time to stop or to show her support but hasn’t; she campaigned for the hospital to remain open when in opposition and is now closing it in government.
“I absolutely condemn this decision. It is not in the interest of Brent’s residents and it will affect people’s lives.”