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Published: 06/10/2005 Volume 115 No. 5976 Page 19

John Randall MP (Conservative, Uxbridge)

Nowhere has the gulf between the public involvement policy and reality been more apparent than in the failed Paddington health campus project (news, page 9, 26 September).

For five years, NHS management rubbished the warnings of Heart of Harefield, the campaign group arguing that Paddington was not viable. The group cited the unwillingness of Harefield Hospital’s staff to relocate, the constrained inner-city site and costs that had escalated to over£1bn.

When the Paddington project collapsed earlier this year, Heart of Harefield was proved right. While those who refused to listen await the review of the fiasco, public thanks are being rightly extended to the Heart of Harefield campaign, led by the indefatigable Jean Brett.

Nearly£14m has been wasted on the aborted Paddington project and the damage done is as serious as the that done to public confidence by those in the NHS who refused to listen. Any government that ignores the lessons would be utterly irresponsible.