HEALTH campaigner and former Wyre Forest MP Dr Richard Taylor has received an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Dr Taylor was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Worcestershire, especially to Kidderminster Hospital, which he fought to save from being downgraded.

The 79-year-old was the MP for Wyre Forest between 2001 and 2010 and a former consultant at Kidderminster Hospital before that between 1972 and 1995.

He was elected on the strength of local concern about the future of that hospital which he fought to save, particularly the A&E which ultimately was downgraded.

He remains passionately concerned about the future of smaller hospitals like Kidderminster and in retaining their services and financial viability.

He is life president of Independent Community and Health Concern and co-founder of national political party National Health Action, which seeks to safeguard the NHS.

Dr Taylor said of his MBE: “It is absolutely lovely. It is recognition that hospitals are desperately important to local people. I have worked hard and am rather pleased to get this recognition. I never dreamed of it.

"Having been an independent MP I thought I had queered my pitch politically. I am surprised and very pleased.”

He said he believed sometimes these awards were "routine" with certain jobs but he said the "beauty of this is it’s nothing like that".

Dr Taylor admitted he had sometimes crossed swords with those in authority in the NHS, including the head of what was then the Worcestershire Health Authority, in defending local health services.

He added: “I think really the proudest achievement is, after two terms as an MP, that I can still walk around Kidderminster and be greeted like a friend. This (the MBE) is just the icing on the cake.”

Dr Taylor announced last year he intended to stand for ICHC at next year's general election at age 80.