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Patricia Hewitt to step down as MP

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Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt is to step down as an MP at the next general election.

Ms Hewitt’s tenure as health secretary between 2005 and 2007 was dogged with controversy as she spearheaded a number of financial reforms that led to hundreds of nurses losing their jobs.

Under Ms Hewitt’s regime, all NHS organisations were required to balance their books in a bid to shore up thier finances.

Most famously she was booed by nurses at the RCN’s Annual Congress in 2006 when she made a speech saying it had been the ‘best year ever’ for the NHS.

Ms Hewitt, who is MP for Leicester West, also forced nurses to take a staged pay award in 2007 against the recommendations of the independent pay review body.

The threat of a strike was finally put off when a slightly improved deal was agreed between unions and her successor, Alan Johnson.

However in 2005, Ms Hewitt intervened to ensure that the drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) was available for women with metastatic breast cancer.

In an interview, Ms Hewitt told the Leicester Mercury she was stepping down to spend more time with her family.

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