Published: 24/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 13

Conservative leader Michael Howard has been criticised for keeping quiet about the good NHS treatment received by his mother - a week after he made political capital out of the cancelled operations suffered by Warrington Hospital patient Margaret Dixon.

Mrs Howard, 93, was treated first in Barnet Hospital and then in a specialist recovery ward at Finchley Memorial Hospital.

Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, whose constituency is served by the two hospitals, said: 'I am really pleased Mrs Howard is getting better. She has received excellent treatment and that is the norm in the NHS.

'If Mr Howard is going to talk about individual cases to criticise the NHS, including his family and Mrs Dixon, then it is incumbent on him to talk about the good ones too.' He said it would be a nice gesture if Mr Howard were to write and thank the staff who had treated his mother.

A Conservative spokesman said: 'When he raised the case of Mrs Dixon, Michael Howard made clear that he praised the work of the doctors and nurses who had looked after Mrs Dixon, just as she had done. He was equally full of praise for the doctors and nurses who had been looking after his mother following her recent accident.'

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals trust director of communications Nick Samuels said: We are always pleased to hear from patients and their relatives about the good treatment they have received. I do not know if any letter has been received, and I wouldn't know.'