In an effort to create a good photo opportunity, the Prime Minister today cut the ribbon to ‘open’ the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital. But the Hospital had in fact been opened three months earlier. Gordon Brown even dragged back a patient from the first opening in July to help him cut the ribbon.
* In June, the Hospital Trust published a newsletter announcing that the keys of the building had been handed over in a photo shoot
* On 1 July, the Centre announced it had official opened and began treating patients. Government websites confirmed the opening.
* On 2 July, the Trust put out a press release welcoming the first patients
* On 4 July, the local paper – The Brentwood Gazette – announced the opening to readers
* On 11 July, the NHS Trust put out a press release announcing a successful ‘first week’ of operations
* On 30 July, the Trust published another newsletter showing Heath Secretary Alan Johnson had officially visited the new Centre
* In August, the Trust announced that health dignitaries ‘officially opened’ the Education Suite at the Centre
Commenting, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said:
“In the last ten days alone, we’ve had fake announcements; fake photo shoots; and fake troop withdrawals. Now, after a hundred days of spin, Gordon Brown has set a new low by faking a hospital opening.”
“Gordon Brown’s big health launch is rapidly falling apart. How can you trust a Prime Minister who even fiddles a photo shoot?”