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Editor’s blog Wednesday 2 June 2010: PM promises to keep community hospitals open

I'm not able to access PMQs directly, but according to a man I would trust without reservation, Michael White of The Guardian, Prime Minister David Cameron promised to keep community hospitals open earlier today.

UPDATE: Hansard now online - reads,
Q9.    [000434] Neil Carmichael (Stroud) (Con): Noting the very high standards of professional care in the NHS in Stroud, may I ask the Prime Minister to lend his support to the Stroud maternity unit?

The Prime Minister: I welcome my hon. Friend, and thank him for that question. I understand that the Stroud maternity unit was under threat under a previous Administration, but I am happy to say that with our plans, under which the money in the NHS will follow the decisions that local people make with their doctors about where to be treated, we will find that community hospitals across our country can once again breathe easily.

As Michael White's tweet observes, that's "expensive populism".

There is certainly a case for some provision of intermediate facilities between acute hospital and returning people home.

But it may not look like extant community hospitals, many of which predate the NHS - let alone more recent innovations in healthcare provision.

You can't accuse the Conservative input to health policy of lacking the instinct to conserve.

The risk they run is, however, of becoming the party of the NHS as it used to be.