A FORMER council leader stormed out of a meeting claiming she was ‘appalled’ by the situation at the Alexandra Hospital being used to score political points.
Carole Gandy, who worked at the Woodrow Drive hospital in the radiology department, branded a speech by Coun Rebecca Blake – also Labour’s Parliamentary candidate in this May’s General Election – during a debate on the running of the site a ‘party political broadcast’.
Councillors were set to vote on a motion put forward at a Redditch Borough Council meeting on Monday (February 23) following claims of bullying, the resignation of all four A&E consultants and a continued lack of clarity on the future of the hospital.
But Coun Gandy refused to take part after hearing from Coun Blake, leaving the chamber before the vote was taken.
It follows a disagreement between Coun Blake and MP Karen Lumley – who alleged a Labour leaflet claiming she had ‘systematically’ voted against the NHS was incorrect and threatened legal action.
Conservative leader Juliet Brunner brought up the matter in the meeting, saying Mrs Lumley had done a lot of work behind the scenes particularly to arrange a meeting this week with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and called on Labour to retract their leaflet.
But Coun Blake said assurances from the Government they were taking the issue seriously would not ‘wash’ with the people of Redditch just because there had been another meeting.
“We will keep on and we won’t shut up about it. If you think words are going to reassure people they won’t. We want actions.”
She slammed an independent investigation jointly commissioned by the Trust and NHS Trust Development Authority into bullying accusations, saying they also needed to investigate the consultants’ resignation and claimed it could not be independent due to the Trust’s involvement.
Coun Blake also said she was not satisfied either the Trust or the Government had taken responsibility for the issues and was sorting them out.
Coun Gandy said the Alex had been under threat under various governments and there had been ‘bad points on all sides’ since it opened in 1986.
“I am not going to sit and listen to party political broadcasts based on an issue which is just so important. It’s not about sitting here with a Parliamentary candidate spouting on at us about propaganda. I am absolutely appalled.
“Over the last few years we have discussed the Alex on a number of occasions and there has been agreement across both parties it is a very important issue, far too important as far as I’m concerned for political points to be scored against anyone.
“I don’t believe this motion has been put forward for any other reason than to give her a platform.”