THE Royal Bolton Hospital has been branded “a mess” by MP Julie Hilling in Parliament.

The Bolton West MP was hitting out at the Government’s handling of the NHS during a debate in the Commons.

She also criticised punishing fines handed to the Royal Bolton for missing infection targets as “utterly mad” and claimed one of her constituents, who she named only as “Colin”, had spent four days on a ward staffed by only one nurse working a 12-hour shift.

She said: “The hospital has faced five per cent cuts each year since 2010 and it has been told to save £50 million over the next three years — a sixth of its budget. We all know the Royal Bolton is in a mess.

“Some of that is of its own making, contracts were signed that repaid less money than the cost of treatment the hospital is outlaying, and it has faced fines for missing targets, such as £4 million for missing its clostridium difficile target.

“That seems utterly mad to me. On the one hand the Government says ‘your treatment was inadequate’. On the other they take a fine of £4 million from the hospital, taking that money from the health care of my constituents, which must make that treatment more inadequate.”

Ms Hilling said she was “confident” the new leadership at the Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust would “turn around financial and clinical control in the hospital”.

She added: “But faced with £50 million-worth of cuts, services will have to be reduced.

“Already, seven per cent of patients are having to wait longer than 18 weeks for treatment, and more and more people are having to wait longer than four hours in accident and emergency — and, of course, that will lead to more fines, which seems nonsense to me.”

The MP told of Colin’s case. He was admitted to hospital for four nights with a strangulated hernia.

Ms Hilling said: “He told me only one nurse was on duty for the entire ward for the 12-hour shift from 7pm until 7am, and she often had to leave the ward to help a colleague in a similar position on an adjoining ward.

“Owing to staffing levels, patients were woken in the middle of the night for their medication and blood tests.

“Colin was full of praise for the hospital staff, who were determined to do their best.”