MP says questions on costs and use of Nightingale Hospitals are being ignored

A South Shields MP says ‘straightforward simple questions’ about the costs and use of Nightingale Hospitals are being ignored by the Government.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 4:20 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 11:29 am
Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields, said her "straightforward simple questions" about the costs, locations and use of the hospitals have been ignored by ministers.

In total seven temporary hospitals were set up in response to the Covid-19 crisis amid fears there would be a shortage of critical care beds.

This includes Nightingale Hospital North East, officially opened on May 5, which health bosses say will remain on ‘standby’ for the coming months.

Emma Lewell-Buck, MP for South Shields, said her "straightforward simple questions" about the costs, locations and use of the hospitals have been ignored by ministers.

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She added: "After my repeated questions regarding the locations, admissions and recorded deaths and usage of the Nightingale Hospitals and temporary mortuaries, the Government's responses have been nothing short of stonewalling.

"When it comes to the costs and private firms who built the Nightingales they simply won't even say.

"Can the Leader of the House explain what it is the Government is trying to hide and how I can get answers to these very straightforward simple questions?"

MPs can also ask government ministers written questions and Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said these should be answered in "a timely fashion".

He added: "I would point out that the relative departments have been exceptionally busy recently in dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

"But if any member or right honourable member is concerned about the quality of answers being received I'm happy to take that up."

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Earlier, SNP Commons business spokesman Tommy Sheppard said: "It now seems that the Treasury is refusing to answer individual queries and has taken to sending generic circulars instead.

"This is not acceptable and it marks a serious departure from the way in which the Government is held to account in Parliament.

"I am well aware that things are not normal at the moment but elected representatives must be able to get answers from those who serve the public."

Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "I agree absolutely and I think it is one of the roles of the Leader of the House to take it up with departments when answers are not felt to be satisfactory by members.

"And I will unquestionably take up what he has said with the Treasury.”

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