Ottery Hospital’s League of Friends members Adrian Rutter and David Roberts were interviewed expressing serious concern about the government owned company charging local NHS organisations commercial rents after acquiring them – and the possibility of the buildings being sold off if the NHS cannot afford the rents.

However, Hugo Swire seemed (after claiming such concerns were alarmist – I also wrote to him last week about this very issue) – to dismiss the idea, instead suggesting that it was up to the community to take out a lease on the buildings.

This is unbelievable.  Ottery’s community raised around £250,000 to help fund a new hospital building just 20 years ago. Now the government is helping themselves to what ministers see as a profitable asset, charging the local NHS huge rents … and the solution… says our MP – is for the community to pay for a long term lease?

Just what planet does Mr Swire live on? 

It is Mr Swire’s government that is perpetrating this plan which amounts to blatant theft and extortion.  As a government minister he tells us he has considerable influence with other ministers and secretaries of state.  It’s about time he used this influence to protect our precious hospitals for future generations.

Here’s the interview.  Tune in at 39 mins to hear Adrian Rutter and David Roberts interview which precedes Mr Swire’s at 42 minutes – link – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03nx07c