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Quick fix cuts 'no solution'

PCTs must not 'slash and burn' services such as community hospitals as a quick fix to financial crises, health minister Lord Warner has warned.

Speaking at an NHS Confederation conference in London last week, Lord Warner said cutting community hospitals would be 'retrograde'.

He said: 'Some PCTs facing financial pressures may find the easiest quick fix is the closure of community hospitals.

'But this would be most

unwise. Losing successful, pop-ular community hospitals

solely to solve short-term financial problems is not acceptable.'

Community hospitals in Kent, Gloucestershire, Cumbria and north Yorkshire have either already closed or are under imminent threat.

Labour pledged in its election manifesto to open 50 new community hospitals.

Dr Terry McCormack, a GP in Whitby, north Yorkshire, who has campaigned to retain services at his local community hospital, said: 'The problem with short fixes is that if you close a hospital you put back years of development and you can't get that back.'

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