The NHS - Have Your Say

May 20, 2011 4:20 PM

Over the last twenty years I have worked with local residents to campaign for better local health services and to secure the future of St Helier hospital. Whilst I welcome some of the aspirations of the Government's proposed reforms to the NHS - decreased bureaucracy, more local accountability, involvement of clinicians and the focus on health - I share some of the concerns expressed in many quarters about other aspects of the Bill.

I know that many of you will share my concerns. I would therefore like to invite you to two public meetings that are being held next week that will allow you to air your views about the proposed reforms.

Monday 23rd May, 9.30 to 11am, Salvation Army, Benhill Avenue, Sutton, http://www.suttonsa.org/suttonsa/contact-us. This event has been organised by Sutton LINk

Friday 27th May, 7 to 8.30pm, Strawberry Lodge, Strawberry Lane, Carshalton, Surrey , SM5 2NQ, http://www.strawberrylodge.co.uk/map.html

For those of you who are unable to attend, I would still like to know your views about the future of the NHS.

Do you think that the private sector has a role to play in the NHS?

Do you think that local GPs should have more responsibility in choosing the best healthcare services for their patients?

And do you believe that more choice in healthcare will result in better healthcare?

Please emailme your comments. I will be collating all your responses and forwarding them to the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley.

I believe in an NHS that is universal, based on need and free at the point of use. There will be no US-style privatisation of the health service on our watch. I look forward to seeing substantive and real changes to the legislation once the current listening exercise has been completed.

The Liberal Democrats intend to be a moderating influence on the Conservatives on issues such as the NHS. Our priority is getting the NHS reforms right and we are calling for guarantees that there would not be back-door privatisation. Any future blueprint for the NHS needs to recognise the need for collaboration, co-operation and integration in the delivery of NHS services and this cannot be done with an exclusive reliance on competition as the sole driving force for improvement.

I want to see substantial changes to the current proposals. Any prospect of the Bill's proposals resulting in 'cherry picking' of NHS services by private firms, to the detriment of sustainable NHS facilities is not acceptable. Any organisation charged with spending precious NHS resources needs to be accountable, transparent and capable. I want to ensure that forthcoming changes suggested in the legislation carry both broad public and patient support and the endorsement of those working in the NHS who want to see a better service.

Liberal Democrats are currently working with all groups constructively engaged in getting the right framework for the NHS and are acutely conscious of the possible effects of unmanageable change. I am in active discussions with GP consortia, local healthcare practitioners, nurses and my constituents, listening to their views. When I met with the GP consortia recently it became clear that despite increased investment of £11.5 billion by the Government in the NHS there are challenges ahead in terms of efficiency savings and I will be raising these concerns with Paul Burstow, Health Minister.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to put my concerns directly to the Health Minister, Simon Burns. Incidentally, Simon Burns reconfirmed that the funding is in place for the St Helier hospital rebuild.

With regards to the NHS in general you may be interested to know that new figures released this April show that since the 2010 General Election, there are 2,500 more doctors, 200 more nurses and 3,500 fewer managers working in the NHS.

Best Wishes,

Tom

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