On Friday, along with various other councillors’ from across the country, (including former local county councillor John Bull) I was in Manchester at the Unison Office to attend a rally for the ‘NHS pledge’ – a five-point practical attempt to limit the damage of the NHS reorganisation.
The event was encouraging councillors to act as patient champions and the last line of defence for our local NHS, and use what influence they can, particularly on the new health and well-being boards to call on local health leaders to:
1. Protect NHS founding values
2. Prevent postcode lotteries
3. Guard against longer waits
4. Promote collaboration over competition
5. Put patients before profits
Labour’s NHS Pledge is a great initiative that I support as it will offer a last line of defence for our local health services. By asking local NHS leaders in the High Peak and the council’s that will review them to adopt Labour’s five principles, we can protect the NHS from the worst that David Cameron and the Condem’s throws at it. Labour both locally and nationally will not sit back and wait for things to go wrong in our NHS – it is far too important for that.
Locally with the changes been proposed by the East Midlands Ambulance Service and the potential knock effect it may have on the North West Ambulance Service, along with the expected privatisation of the patient transport service, the effects of these changes can be seen, but by joining forces with health professionals at local level, we can resist the drive towards the rationing of treatment and the encroachment of charges we are starting to see in our NHS, some of which particularly with the quirks in our local arrangements (for Glossopdale at least) could become huge problems.
The Condem Government’s NHS re-organisation is already causing real harm to patients and is wasting £16,502,535 in the Tameside and Glossop NHS (PCT) area and £45,297,052 in the Derbyshire County NHS (PCT) Area. These changes are already causing longer waits for operations and chaos in A&E has returned, with operations and treatments restricted as the postcode lottery gets worse and thousands of nursing jobs are axed, it’s also leading to concerns for local hospitals with the news a few weeks ago that the Greater Manchester NHS is reviewing hospital services.
Speaking after the event Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said:
“I am very proud to be supporting the NHS pledge rally today. It will be an invaluable way of showing how Labour Council Leaders and Labour Health leads can make a positive difference to local health provision and defend the things that matter in our NHS.”
“People are particularly angry about what’s happening to our NHS and believe that David Cameron has betrayed them. Before the election he promised no more top-down NHS re-organisations but brought forward the biggest ever, taking £3.45bn away from the frontline and running unforgivable risks with patient safety. The NHS Pledge will show where Labour Councils are making a difference.”