HEALTH secretary Andrew Lansley has pledged that nobody should wait more than 18 weeks before their local hospital is closed.
The government was initially reluctant to set deadlines for the sale of the nation’s health centres, but figures showing that most hospitals were still making people well and not charging any money for it has spurred Lansley into action.
The health secretary said: “Sadly we’ve inherited a Labour legacy of hospitals existing for decades, even centuries, before being sold to some shady acronym for a fraction of their value. This is despite their promises to be just as committed to hacking the service to pieces as we are.
“I don’t believe in arbitrary Whitehall figures but ideally no more than 8% of patients should have a functioning A&E ward in the same county as them by April, and I’ll stand by this figure even if I have to drive the bulldozer myself.”
Lack of deterioration of service has caused an embarrassing u-turn for the coalition, who had believed their general policies would cause the natural death of the health service over time.
The number of functioning hospitals will now be closely monitored and an NHS Destruction Tsar will be appointed to trouble-shoot in areas where free medical attention persists.
Retired headmistress Margaret Gerving said: “Under the last lot, I had to attend focus groups and fill in online questionnaires all day before not having my dicky hip looked at.
“But under this government, there’s just a security guard in front of a new block of luxury flats telling me the hospital was knocked down three months ago, so it’s lot simpler.”