CHRIS Green has been challenged to a public meeting over the NHS by his Labour rival.

Former Bolton West MP Julie Hilling has invited the man who took her seat for the Tories to defend his Government’s record on health.

This week, the Royal Bolton Hospital cancelled all scheduled routine operations until February 1 amid severe winter pressures resulting partly from high numbers of flu cases.

Ms Hilling said: “Every winter we have a ‘crisis’ in our health service.

“It is time Chris Green explained what he and the Tories are going to do about this — or is he saying that no one in Bolton can afford to be ill in winter? It’s a disgrace.

“Operations at Bolton Hospital have been cancelled and the people of Bolton West deserve an explanation to how this situation will be fixed.

“The Tories keep saying we need a conversation about the NHS, so let’s have it. I am available at any date of Chris Green’s choosing to debate, at a public meeting, how we fund health and social care for the future.

“The question is does he have the courage to face the residents of Bolton and defend this Governments record?”

Recent statistics showed that the Royal Bolton was at full capacity for four days between Christmas and New Year.