St Lukes Hospital

Edward Garnier QC MP, had a meeting on the 20th June with Health Minister, Simon Burns MP, at the Department of Health which Catherine Griffiths, the Chief Executive of the Primary Care Trust also attended, the Minister said that whilst he accepted that "we are where we are" he expected the new unit to be up and running by January 2012 "or we will be back in this office having a rather different sort of discussion in the first week in February next year."

Speaking after the meeting Edward Garnier said:

"This was a useful meeting because I was able to tell the minister face to face, as one MP and minister to another MP and minister and in front of Catherine Griffiths, what had been going wrong, at huge expense, and that something had to be done about it.  He and his officials now appreciate the seriousness of the problem and are not prepared to let people shrug it all off with cliches such as 'lessons will be learnt'.  Although the problems St Luke's faces go back well beyond Catherine Griffith's arrival as Chief Executive the handling of the Modcom contract was simply appalling and was just the latest mess in a long line of failure.  I gave the minister a list of questions about how the PCT came to enter into a contract with Modcom UK, a company that was not on the Goverment list of approved contractors, why there was no or no financial due diligence inquiry prior to contract, and why there was no performance bond required of Modcom - which has now ceased trading following a petition to the High Court from HMRC leaving taxpayers another bill to pay for.

These questions need answering and Simon Burns has asked officials to get him the answers pronto.  The PCT is a public body accountable to my constituents for their taxes and this episode does not inspire public confidence.  Both the minister and I, but I am sure the people of Harborough, will be watching this project with very close attention and as soon as I have anything further to report from the minister I will let my constituents know.  They are fed up with this whole saga and so am I and now the minister knows why. We simply cannot continue with this level of incompetence."