Kingston: Conservative candidate attacks MP over Kingston hospital campaign

By Richard Chidwick

Conservative candidate in Kingston and Surbiton, Helen Whately has accused the constituency’s Liberal Democrat MP of scare-mongering about hospital ward closures.

Ed Davey, the Lib Dem MP is running a Save Kingston hospital campaign on his website and claims that his party would prevent the closure.

Despite discussions in parliament, no plans to close the hospital have been made public, and Ms Whately says her opponent is alarming people.

She said: “The approach has been very disappointing – they have attacked me and the Conservative commitment to the NHS since their very first leaflet. The hospital described their campaign as irresponsible because they have made people think the hospital is about to close and frightened many patients unnecessarily.”

Ms Whately added: “If I’m elected – and we have a Conservative Government – Kingston Hospital will be safe, I am absolutely committed to the hospital.”

Despite a Lib Dem majority of nearly 9,000 in 2005, the Conservatives are keen to win the seat, one of many they will need to take to form a government. David Cameron visited the hospital as part of his election campaign on Saturday.

Mrs Whately said: “Since the news came out about Labour’s review of healthcare in South West London I have worked hard to win backing from David Cameron and Andrew Lansley for our local hospital.”

Mr Davey has responded to Mrs Whatley’s claim, saying he has seen plans discussing closures.

He said: “The issue was brought up first by Susan Kramer (Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston) in a parliamentary debate. We had a secret document leaked to us detailing the conditions of plans concerning Kingston hospital’s A&E ward and its possible closure.

“I have personally spoken to one of the three chief executives who have told me that closure of the A&E wards could happen. There were points within the document which discuss a possible planned closure. We are not saying it will close, we are against it closing.”