COTTAGE hospitals could return to the Isle of Wight if UKIP candidate Iain McKie is elected at the general election next year.
Mr McKie pledged to plan for their establishment, having consulted with healthcare professionals at St Mary’s Hospital and the mainland.
He said: "There used to be eleven hospitals on the Island, now there is only one.
"In some cases, patients are being released early after operations, and many are not fully capable of looking after themselves following procedures.
"For the 17 per cent of Island pensioners who live on their own, this is a worry. Very often they are being returned to St Mary’s via A and E when they have gone home only to find that they are not well enough to care for themselves, or have someone who can help.
"This is blocking the admissions into A and E. Also, from a compassionate way of thinking, convalescence in Newport is not always the most appropriate for Islanders. Many have relatives and carers who cannot drive, and getting to St Mary’s can be difficult.
"Therefore, from a logistical and a caring perspective it makes perfect sense to me that we call for the establishment of smaller hospitals across the Island."
He told the County Press: "Of course there are going to be efficiency savings that can be made within the NHS, which could help to pay for this.
"There are certainly things within the public sector that I would deem unecessary.
"A lot of people would benefit from being somewhere more local, rather than at St Mary's."