David Cameron has tried to justify that his list of hospitals facing cuts is correct whilst his own backbenchers are already going around apologising on behalf of their leader's gaffe.
"Dave" claimed that 29 district hospitals are facing cuts to emergency and maternity services. However, it turns out that his figures, statistics and even hospital names are completely wrong !
One backbencher Tory MP Henry Bellingham was forced to apologise to staff at the local hospital in his Kings Lynn constituency, which he says David Cameron wrongly included on the hit list. he told the BBC
"I wasn't consulted on this and I apologise unreservedly to the staff of the hospital,"
"I do think there's a lesson for all opposition parties, all parties actually and the government, if they are issuing a statement that affects an organisation, be it a hospital, the police, some school, they should always consult the chief executive or the headmaster or whoever it is."
This is the second time in a week that a Norfolk MP has had to apologise to a local hospital after Norman Lamb apologised for claims about the standard of food hygiene at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. However, at least local MP's Bellingham and Lamb had the decency to apologise immediately and not compound the problem by restating the false information. This is not a lesson David Cameron has learnt.
In spite of what the local Tory MP has said, Mr Cameron reiterated that Queen Elizabeth hospital in Kings Lynn was under threat as it delivered under 3,000 live births per year - the level at which the strategic health authority decided a unit is not viable. It appears though that Dave is ill informed about maternity services in Norfolk. Having recently become a new dad and living in Norfolk I know that the Queen Elizabeth is one of only three maternity units in Norfolk and cannot be shut die to the strain it would put on the already over worked Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It is a shame David Cameron is so ill informed on such matters.
Another hospital Dave has on his Tory hit list does not even have a maternity unit or an accident and emergency facility. Yet despite the absence of these facilities in the first place, Mr Cameron insists these units are to be closed. the hospital in question is Altrincham General Hospital in Trafford.
The BBC report HERE highlights a number of other hospitals that completely refute Mr Cameron's allegations. Despite this, David Cameron has repeated "We stand by what we have said".
Arrogance or stupidity from David Cameron ?
P.S. I note Iain Dale made reference to the Norman Lamb story last week when he visited the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and offered a swift apology. I wonder if Iain will be reporting it when the Tories do something even worse !