Tomorrow, the 1st of April 2013, is a day that will always be infamous in the history of Britain’s greatest institution, the National Health Service. The changes forced upon the NHS by the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition, which come into effect tomorrow, will signal the end of the NHS as a public service and bring about its eventual destruction. Nobody voted for these changes, they were in no party’s manifesto. They are motivated by a hard right-wing Conservative Party’s desire to destroy the NHS. Pure and simple.
I regard defending the NHS, and preserving as much of it as possible until a Labour government can reverse the Tory-Lib Dem vandalism, as the most important objective of being in politics at this time. ‘Politics’ is regarded as a dirty word by many people because of the disrepute that many politicians have brought upon themselves by the expenses scandal and reneging on manifesto promises and the like. However, it was politics that gave us the NHS, where everyone in Britain is cared for when they are sick regardless of their wealth or social standing. The NHS is how we, as Britons, decided we want to look after each other, and politics made it happen.
Politics is coming to Bagshot, Windlesham and Chobham on 2 May 2013 and I am your Labour candidate for Surrey County Council (SCC). The council has a ‘health scrutiny’ role and if I’m elected I will use this to defend and enhance our public NHS.
My top priority for Windlesham will be to return a doctors’ surgery to the village in one form or another as quickly as possible.
Windlesham has the worst public transport links of any of the surrounding villages so if any village needs and deserves a doctors’ surgery, it is Windlesham. Many people here are finding it difficult to access primary healthcare already. After 2 May I will work immediately to resolve this.
I led the campaign to save the Windlesham branch of the Lightwater Surgery and spoke to scores of people who were distressed by losing the surgery. I spoke in favour of the new Field of Remembrance pavilion at the borough council Planning Committee and this could be a good interim location for GP services.
I would like to see a new, purpose-built doctors’ surgery in Windlesham as a new stand-alone GP practice. As your county councillor, I will lobby the new NHS Commissioning Board to establish this as soon as possible. The planned new homes on the DERA site on Chobham Common are predicated on there being a GP surgery in Windlesham, so the new practice could serve them too, along with many patients in Lightwater who are dissatisfied with Lightwater Surgery and their rip-off 0844 phone number.
SCC has built up huge cash reserves and the Chief Executive tells me that they should be reduced by around £100m. This doesn’t mean that cash should be wasted, it should be invested for the benefit for Surrey residents to achieve a return better than the 1% per year that they are currently earning. Many private companies fund and build doctors’ surgeries and charge a market rent based on long term contracts and earn a healthy return. I would like to see SCC do this with its excess reserves by building, or more likely re-building, a doctors’ surgery in Windlesham for a new permanent practice to set up.
Don’t Keep Me Waiting
In Chobham, patients tell me they have to wait for 3 weeks for an appointment with the doctors. This is unacceptable. If elected, I will ensure that this returns to an acceptable level. If new premises are needed then patients’ interests should be the prime consideration of a new location.
Vote Labour on 2 May
I am an experienced community activist and I know how to ensure patients come first in NHS decisions. I am lobbying the new doctors’ groups, called Clinical Commissioning Groups, to use only ethical providers of healthcare as part of country-wide campaigns.
This is my third pledge: I will not rest until Windlesham has its doctors’ surgery back and I will fight the privatisation of the NHS until my last breath.
Labour Candidate for Surrey County Council 2 May 2013