Wednesday, 18 March 2015

We need a NHS that is in public hands, well funded and close to home

The NHS is a crucial issue, understandably so many of us would not be here on this earth without it. It is understandable that so many people hold it in such high regard and view it as a crucial election issue. It is no surprise that I receive so many emails from constituents asking my views on the future of it. Whether if elected as the MP for St Ives will support the marketisation of the NHS started under Labour and accelerated under the Tory and Lib Dem coalition and whether I would oppose the NHS being part of TTIP.

I try to respond to every email I receive asking my views as candidate, I can't say it's easy with dozens of emails every day, but I try and it's a no brainer for me that we have this technology that allows freedom of communication. That the future for democracy is to utilise the internet to get closer to voters. I'm always very glad when people respond to the comments I send to them and more than a little disappointed when people express their frustration that none of the other candidates reply.

I think three things need to change with the NHS in Cornwall. We need proper funding and end the decades of underfunding, no to privatisation and control by undemocratic bodies and bring/ keep health services close to the people.

Cornwall's NHS has been underfunded for years, I wrote a few years back: NHS funding boost, meagre crumbs for Kernow on the 6.2% gap in 2010/11 between the money the government determined we needed and what they paid. This is a shocking situation, especially as the incumbent Cornish MPs all stood on platforms of fair funding and have done very little to progress this situation. It is little wonder with such underfunding that Cornwall has only one major hospital and cottage hospitals like Poltair have closed down.

The NHS like all public services should be delivered publicly and with care as it's priority. As we saw with the Serco out of hours debacle, it does not present what is best for care. We must say no to privatisation and in my view this is whether it is Cornish, UK, European or US companies bidding for services. Also the managment of the NHS should be done in a democratic and accountable way. The MK devolution document Towards a National Assembly for Cornwall calls for the various trusts and boards to be brought back under public control and I fully support this.

Unfortunately the debate about centralisation of health services is no longer in the public eye. Perhaps in part as it has happened less under this government than the last, but the problem still remains. For far too long in the name of efficiency, services have been centralised to Treliske and Derriford and people can not go to their local hospital for even the most basic of treatments and appointments.

Successive governments have played politics with health and unfortunately in some cases patient care has suffered as a result. We need a health service that is publicly owned and run, modern and efficient with patient care at it's core. As the NHS was originally intended to be, these are my views and those of MK and this is why I was happy to sign up to the NHS Reinstatement Bill campaign. They have a great website and a great facility to contact general election candidates, check it out here.

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