Andrew George: Overwhelming Rejection of Government Health Reforms
The public has given a resounding thumbs down to the Government’s health policy at a well-attended public meeting in Penzance last night. The meeting was organised by local Liberal Democrat,
Andrew George MP who is also a member of the Health Select Committee.
Also speaking at the meeting were Dr Mark McCartney, on behalf of the British Medical Association – also a GP at Pensilva in South East Cornwall; Stuart Bonar, Parliamentary Officer of the Royal College of Midwives; and Dr Colin Philip, GP lead for the proposed Clinical Commissioning Group (Kernow Clinical Commissioning) which will take over from the local Primary Care Trust (PCT) when the Government’s policy is enacted. He is also a GP at the Stennack Surgery in St Ives.
All except two of nearly 250 people who attended the meeting opposed the Government’s legislation; with one indicating support and one indicating an abstention.
Andrew George expressed disappointment that the Government did not send a representative to the meeting to defend the Government’s policy in spite of numerous invitations and prompting. He extended an invite not only to the Secretary of State – Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP – but also for him to send another representative. He had also opened the invitation to local Conservative MPs and to any representative from the local Conservative Party. The chair made available for the Government’s representative remained empty throughout the evening.
Although all speakers rejected the suggestion that the Government policy would mean “the end of the NHS”, they all indicated that it would be a very different NHS, and that the changes were not for the better.
Mr George said,
“It is a great pity that neither the Government nor local Conservatives could come to defend the Government’s policy; though I doubt that that would have had much impact on the meeting. Local people are becoming extremely concerned about the risks of creating a NHS which is driven more by private profit than concern about patient care. There was a clear message for the Government. The meeting wanted to support reforms which would give stronger protections for an integrated NHS; which puts professionalism and patient care before profit, and not the other way around.”