The teenage son of a Midland nurse facing redundancy confronted Gordon Brown about his mother's future yesterday.

The Chancellor was challenged by the sixth former while visiting Holy Trinity High School in Redditch, Worcestershire.

He was also forced to defend Government policy on higher education and the environment after being questioned by other pupils.

But it was 18-year-old Lee Williams whose question prompted the most detailed response from the Chancellor.

The teenager's mother Tracey, aged 39, works as a phlebotomist taking blood samples for patients at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

She is one of 720 staff facing redundancy to save £30 million within the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trusts.

In a lengthy reply, Mr Brown claimed more money was going into the NHS but added it needed to be managed better.

"But some trusts have run up deficits and these have to be dealt with. The amount of money going into the health service continues to expand but there maybe trusts with deficits that have to be sorted out."

Mr Brown maintained savings were necessary because of the spiralling cost of maintaining a modern health service.

"Every country in the world has seen the cost of health care rise because we have this massive set of technological rises," he said.

"Take breast cancer - 12,000 people a year are diagnosed with it. There are five new drugs that have recently being approved for the late stage of breast cancer and more for the early stage.

"There are massive technology advances taking place."

On a more personal note that may have provided little comfort to the Williams' family's plight, Mr Brown told the teenager: "I hope it will resolve itself and your mother's fears will not be realised."

Mr Brown's visit to Redditch is indication of the importance Labour places on retaining the seat in key midterm local elections next month.

It comes amid growing concern support may be waning among the electorate halfway through the party's third term in office. ..SUPL: