Scrap the reforms to NHS, say Leamington campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS in Leamington have put pressure on MP Chris White to speak out against the planned NHS reform that they say risks breaking up the health service.

Around 30 Leamington supporters of the national 38 Degrees movement, which has gathered more than 420,000 signatures on a petition against the reform, visited the Conservative MP’s office last Friday to ask him his views on the matter.

David Gallemore, a retired mental health care worker at St Michael’s Hospital in Warwick, was among them. He said: “Mr White’s replies tried to reassure by saying that he believed that the new commissioning bodies should be ‘as transparent as possible’ and that accountability and transparency are ‘two sides of the same coin’.

“But he has voted on previous occasions for the bill. He has been unable to give clear and unequivocal answers to detailed questions but claims that he will listen to the concerns of constituents.”

Speaking after Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement this week that he would accept changes to the bill suggested by the independent review, Future Forum, Mr Gallemore said: “Where at least there was some clarity to the Government’s plans, however unpalatable, there is now obfuscation in the hope that people will not see its true intent. The bill should be scrapped.

“I do think that our MP should publicly make clear what his views are and be prepared to defend them now that he can not hide behind the Government’s pause.”

Mr White told the Courier: “Despite whatever scaremongering there is, the NHS is something I and the Government fully support.

“What I am most concerned about is whether we can satisfy our patients. It’s very important to make sure that decisions made by the NHS have the full involvement of patients as well as clinics.

“The Government has been listening and has taken on board a lot of the criticism. This exercise has been vitally important in looking at the proposals and how things can be done better. That’s a major step forward.”

Mr White also attended a forum on the reform at Warwick Hospital last Friday, along with Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi and health workers.