Cat Smith and Labour members with others opposing NHS privatisation.
After wasting £3bn on a damaging reorganisation, David Cameron has overseen year after year of budgets when health spending has failed to keep up with peoples’ needs. Tory policies have plunged our local NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, in to financial meltdown.
The trust is now running a £31.7m deficit and is struggling to maintain services at the three hospitals it operates, cutting back on staff and prompting the threat to privatise hospital pharmacy services.
The Trust is now failing to meet its emergency care standards, meaning many A&E patients are waiting over 4 hours. Official documents admit this is ‘due to a reduction in staffing levels’.
Cat Smith, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Lancaster & Fleetwood has taken a leading role in the defence of our local NHS, saying “David Cameron pledged that ‘We will stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS’ then proceeded to squander billions on the biggest top-down reorganisation our health service has ever seen.
“The Conservatives’ funding squeeze is plunging our local NHS even deeper into the red and are already causing serious damage to frontline services. The special case of our trust, which has to span the whole of Morecambe Bay, providing services at three hospitals when many trusts run just one, simply isn’t reflected in Tory spending plans.
“I am totally opposed to the plan to privatise our hospital’s pharmacy services - another example of the piece-by-piece privatisation of our NHS that the Tories are pursuing. The plan won’t improve patient care and is based around exploiting a VAT loophole which may shortly disappear, leaving our Trust locked into a contract with a private provider.
“Huge private healthcare companies – from here and the US – are lobbying hard to take over an ever larger proportion of our NHS. This simply has to stop. If Labour don’t win the next election, we may well see the wholesale privatisation of our NHS.
“But what’s worse for local health services is that unless people stand up and fight right now, services may already have been privatised before the election. That’s why we need to pressure Lancaster’s Tory MP Eric Ollerenshaw to stand up for patients – not private interests – and admit the Tories have got it wrong. I am calling on him to back the law proposed by Labour’s Clive Efford MP which would stop the privatisation of our services in its tracks.”