Bishop Auckland switched from Labour to Tory and now its stroke unit is closing

What did the people of Bishop Auckland expect?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told everybody what would happen if the Conservatives were returned to government.

He said Tory privatisation of the NHS would continue and people in places like Bishop Auckland would be deprived of key services.

And now the people of Bishop Auckland are losing their stroke unit.

Bizarrely, the constituency’s new Conservative MP is campaigning for the unit to stay open. Seems a little two-faced to This Writer.

I have no idea which way Lisa Stoker voted but I certainly hope the Tories have only made fools of her neighbours, and not of her.

If not – and if anybody thinks my comment is harsh – just think of the harm that people across the UK are going to suffer over the next five years, because of people who thought voting Tory was a good idea.

They’re all going to find out it isn’t – the hard way.

A woman who has had repeated strokes has criticised the proposed closure of her local rehabilitation unit.

Hospital managers said centralising stroke services at the University Hospital of North Durham would improve treatment and reduce hospital stays.

But Lisa Stoker, 47, from West Auckland, said she would not feel safe if the rehabilitation unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital closed.

“It would be scary to think there was no support there,” she said.

“That would be the worst thing you could ever do,” her husband Richard said.

Source: Bishop Auckland stroke unit closure plan prompts patient fear – BBC News

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18 thoughts on “Bishop Auckland switched from Labour to Tory and now its stroke unit is closing

  1. Florence

    One suspects that the Tory voters have largely the same blinkered mentality as the Brexit voters? They thought that Brexit would be a simple binary switch and that after it is “done” day to day life would continue as is. That would be the same reality where local Tory MPs pose without shame for PR at food banks and hospital campaigns, and then go and vote for more cuts. The inability to link the two together of course is the sign of a totally failed and corrupt MSM.

  2. Chris O'Donovan

    I suspect this decision was already in the pipeline before the GE. I vaguely recall either Newsnight or C4 News doing an analysis of Bishop Auckland during the campaign and this issue may well have featured.
    I was tempted to share the article but this could backfire if the decision was made as a result of reorganisation on “efficiency “ grounds before the GE. This may still be a direct result of Tory cuts but Johnson will no doubt claim it was either nothing to do with him, or, reverse the decision in order to demonstrate the NHS is safe in his hands and guarantee the seat at the next GE. If I was in his position that is what I would do.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If it was in the pipeline before the GE, then doesn’t that make the switch from Labour to Tory even worse? It’s still a Tory cut!

      But I have a doubt as everyone seems surprised by it, including the new Tory MP. While it may have been in the pipeline, it may also have been hidden until now. Typical Tories – hiding what they’re doing until after they get what they want!

      1. Robbo

        I think you will find that it is still in the consultation stage and the concept of the NHS Group in Bishops Auckland on the grounds of efficiency, not Tory cuts and costs.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think you will find that it doesn’t matter – it’s still a cut happening because the Tories want it to.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think you will find that it is still a Tory cut as so-called “efficiency” savings are prompted by Tory funding cuts and privatisation.

      4. Chris O'Donovan

        I agree it is still a Tory cut but the perception for voters is probably different. They see it as the NHS trust making the saving on efficiency grounds; only the users like Ms Stoker see it as a cut.
        The new Tory MP stands to gain support for merely opposing the closure and will take all of the credit if it is saved. Johnson will also gain a propaganda victory if he saves a stroke unit, the cost of which is likely to be relatively small compared to saving a hospital.
        My NHS Trust in Leicester is proposing to do just that, closing 200 beds, downgrading the services on offer, selling off land and concentrating services in the two remaining hospitals.
        This was known before the GE and opposed by the shadow health secretary, a local city MP. That did not prevent Labour’s share of the vote falling and the Tories gaining votes across the County.
        I agree your final comments that we are going to have to find out the hard way before the penny drops.

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        You’re saying the Tories are succeeding in pulling the wool over people’s eyes because the people are spectacularly gullible, then.

  3. Mark allinson

    People who did change the vote to conservative are partly to blame and it all started a few years ago when they were closing the cottage hospitals and the false promise of Boris Johnstone saying to build new hospitals and get more doctors and nurses if that was the case why did they bother closing hospitals and the cottage hospitals down in the first place the conservatives live by non stop lies no brand new hospitals will get built they might get a small extension built but defo not a brand new hospital and as for new doctors and nurses they take years to be qualified they don’t just come off a production line in a factory.

    1. Chris O'Donovan

      I can’t speak for why people voted the way they did; I can’t say whether they are gullible or not, but many of those in good health appear indifferent, or turned a blind eye. It could be the case that they don’t identify decisions made by NHS trusts as a direct consequence of Government policy.
      What is certain is that many of us will suffer the consequences.

  4. Tony

    Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Attlee government, Hugh Dalton, was the MP for this constituency for a number of years.

    He led the opposition to the decision to build the atomic bomb. He was absolutely right to do so. As a result, Attlee did not dare allow the full cabinet to decide the issue.

    What this shows is that Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to nuclear weapons is, within the Labour Party, a much more mainstream position than we are led to believe.

    Thank you, Hugh Dalton and thank you, Jeremy Corbyn.

    The leadership and deputy leadership candidates in the forthcoming election need to be pressed on whether they would support a change of policy for the Labour Party to a clear position of opposition to nuclear weapons.

    Nothing less will do.

  5. Bri

    Actually the decision to close the whole hospital and reopen it as a private hospital was decided before it even opened! While I was actually fitting the lighting in what was to become the stroke unit I over heard 2 of the bosses of the company who financed, built, and actually own it talking of how soon they thought they could get the then Labour government to pay up and them take it into private use! So no one has the right to preach and blame one party or the other!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      So these privateers were planning to take New Labour for a ride, after John Major’s Tories ran down NHS funding to such a degree that it was felt PFI was the only way to repair the damage quickly enough – and you think nobody has the right to lay blame?

      Think again.

  6. Gary

    The Tories have always sought to ‘make savings’ on the NHS and regard it as a business rather than a service BUT this is too soon to be the responsibility of the new government. It is barely four weeks, this decision will have been proposed and decided upon well before that. AND it isn’t the responsibility of the local MP either, it’s the local Health Board/Trust. This is not ‘as a result of’ December’s election outcome in Bishop Auckland.

    This IS a result of consistent cuts to the NHS made by almost ten years of Tory led government’s.

    The point about cuts IS valid, the way the story is written, however, is lacking…

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Gary, the new government is the Tory government, same as the old one.

      There’s nothing wrong with the story; only with your curious reinterpretation of it.

  7. Tommy

    I agree that it is 2-faced for the Tory MP to campaign for the stroke unit to stay open when the Tories are closing it. Do you agree that it was also 2-faced for the previous Labour MP to campaign to keep the former A&E at Bishop Auckland Hospital open when Labour closed it in 2009? Which closure do you think had the biggest negative impact on local people? Closing a single stroke unit by the Tories – or closing an entire A&E department, adding several miles to emergency journeys from accidents across the largely rural Bishop Auckland and NW Durham constituencies? I am utterly fed up of local MPs (of all parties) wringing their hands as they get a nod and a wink from whips to campaign against “local” closures by their own party, whilst voting along party lines to impose “other” closures on everyone else.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I have no knowledge of any previous Labour MP’s dealings with any former A&E unit, but I do know that it is wrong of you to even mention it here and now. Even if your claim is accurate, two wrongs don’t make a right! So don’t come here with your false arguments.

      We’re discussing the matter at hand, not living in the past.

Comments are closed.