Backbenchers want Anderson to go

David Anderson MHK, Minister for Health

David Anderson MHK, Minister for Health

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No fewer than 10 MHKs have signed a letter calling for the removal of David Anderson as Health Minister.

But Chief Minister Allan Bell has hit out at the backbenchers who he says are using Noble’s Hospital as a ‘political football’.

The letter, understood to have been signed by Kate Beecroft, Peter Karran, Zac Hall, Leonard Singer, Alfred Cannan, Howard Quayle, Laurence Skelly, Chris Thomas, John Houghton and Brenda Cannell, calls for the Chief Minister ‘as a matter of urgency’ to take the necessary steps to restore confidence in the health department by replacing Mr Anderson as Minister.

Their concerns follow a letter signed by 10 consultants that highlights concerns about patients’ safety at Noble’s. The letter also claims Mr Anderson and his chief executive David Killip made misleading comments to a Tynwald committee about a report into a review of bowel surgery – a claim denied by the Health Minister.

A delegation of four MHKs subsequently spoke to Mr Bell.

He told the Examiner: ‘I can understand the concerns members have. We have all read about the problems the hospital in particular has been struggling with. My concern is that we should take this issue out of the political arena and stop using the hospital as a political football.’

Mr Bell said the debate had affected the morale of Noble’s staff. He has previously stated he is committed to dealing with the problems at the hospital. He said he has made three visits so far and spoken to the consultants whose letter sparked the current row.

‘I had a very positive meeting and a number of constructive ideas were put forward. I want things implemented as soon as possible.’

Asked if he continued to have confidence in Mr Anderson as Health Minister, Mr Bell replied: ‘I do not want to be sidetracked with political issues.’

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