Second attack on plans to scrap more hospital beds

A second council is planning to table a vote of no confidence in Norfolk health chiefs' plans to scrap cottage hospital beds around the county.

A second council is planning to table a vote of no confidence in Norfolk health chiefs' plans to scrap cottage hospital beds around the county.

North Norfolk Council also plans to back its motion with a dossier of evidence from GPs and health workers to show that the Norfolk Primary Care Trust's bed cut plans are "fundamentally flawed".

North Norfolk's move comes after an earlier vote of no confidence by Broadland Council.

Margaret Craske, member for health at North Norfolk, said: "I want to get authoritative facts and figures from those who know what is involved. We need to get away from hearsay and get some hard facts.

"There are so many unanswered comments in the PCT's document I think we can pick a lot of holes, but I think we also have to put forward alternatives as well."

The council aims to present its dossier to the county's health overview and scrutiny committee composed of county, borough and district councillors - which has the power to refer matters to health secretary Patricia Hewitt.

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One member, Sue Pointer, said it had already heard from a GP who was unhappy that doctors had not been consulted properly.

She said: "Some of us have grave concerns the PCT has not consulted properly, that their audit was based on flawed information and that they have not taken sufficient account of changes in demographics."

A spokesman for the PCT said it was committed to involving patients and carers in the planning and decision-making process and that it held six public meetings in the autumn, to which everyone was invited.

It was now holding a 90 day consultation with nine public meetings to allow people to look at the proposals, ask questions and give views.

"We have involved the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Patient and Public Involvement Forum at every step of the process," she said.

"We hope that people will continue to come forward with their ideas and to ask questions during the coming weeks."

She said the PCT's supporting documents were available on its website, www.norfolk-pct.nhs.uk.

A date for North Norfolk council's no confidence motion has not yet been set.