Keeping You Informed (September 2011)

Dear Newcastle,

Last week parliament returned after its summer break.

But in reality there has been no ‘break’ to events this summer.

The revelations and arrests of the phone hacking scandal continued through July and August.

And of course we had the riots, though not, thankfully, in the North East.

Then last week we were welcomed us back to the Commons with the Health and Social Care Bill.

When this Bill was last debated it caused so much controversy, so much anger, so many complaints by doctors, nurses, patients and all who care for the NHS that the Government was forced to withdraw it.

They were going to listen to objections and ‘reflect’. Well last week we saw the changes.

And it is worse.

The Bill still breaks up the NHS. It puts the £800 Billion we spend on it into the hands of GPs, trained to treat patients not manage budgets.  It opens up the NHS to be taken over by private for-profit providers.

Only now they have decided to create lots of quangos to oversee everything and each other.

The Bill makes hospitals subject to European competition law, so that they could be fined 10% of their turnover for co-operating with each other instead of competing.

The huge re-organisation the Bill requires is estimated to cost £3 billion at a time when many hospitals are seeing their budgets cut.

And at the same time the Government are changing the way healthcare budgets are allocated across the country so that Newcastle will lose more than £12 million whilst Surrey will gain over £61 million.

The North East has some of the best hospitals in the world.

But also some of the highest rates for certain illnesses – illnesses associated with our industrial past, or with current day poverty and neglect.

We need great healthcare.

Not bureaucracy and private profits.

Best wishes,


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