Tag Archives: paul burstow

Support the National Health Action Party in its bid to unseat Hunt and Cameron

Fighting for the NHS: Dr Louise Irvine will challenge Jeremy Hunt for his seat in Parliament.

Fighting for the NHS: Dr Louise Irvine will challenge Jeremy Hunt for his seat in Parliament.

Why is the fight against creeping NHS privatisation no longer gaining national headlines in the mass media? Do editors think it is no longer fashionable, or do they think the job’s done and they don’t have to bother any more?

Thank goodness for the Daily Mirror and its report that Dr Louise Irvine is to stand against Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the 2015 election, as the National Health Action Party candidate for South West Surrey.

She joins Dr Clive Peedell, who will challenge David Cameron for his Witney seat.

Both candidatures were announced at the NHAP’s national conference, which took place over the weekend. You probably didn’t even know it was happening, thanks to the priorities of the mainstream media.

The doctors have a hard challenge ahead of them – Hunt’s majority at the 2010 election was more than 16,000 votes. That’s 16,000+ more than his closest rival. Cameron’s was even higher – nearly 23,000 votes ahead of the pack.

But Dr Irvine told the Mirror she was ready for the fight: “I’ve faced Jeremy Hunt in the courts and beaten him twice. Now I’ll face him at the ballot box.

“He needs to be held to account for what he’s doing to our NHS and the way in which he has bulldozed democracy, changing the law to push through hospital closures when he was beaten in court.”

Of course, Dr Irvine’s pledge to stand against Hunt is a deep embarrassment for the Health Secretary – not only did she lead the successful Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, which won a High Court ruling that Hunt acted outside his powers when he decided to cut the hospital’s emergency and maternity units, but she is also a council member of the British Medical Association, which represents 150,000 doctors.

It is a sign that the medical profession at large is entirely opposed to his money-grubbing, postcode-lottery, health-for-profit policies.

Vox Political calls on voters in South West Surrey and Witney to support their NHAP candidates.

In Conservative stronghold seats like these, it seems realistic to expect voters to respond more to respected medical professionals like Drs Irvine and Peedell; there is also considerable distrust in Labour’s will to reverse NHS privatisation – but this may be alleviated if NHAP candidates are in the House of Commons, holding Labour to account.

The Mirror has been running a poll, asking readers whether they would vote for Dr Irvine against Mr Hunt. At the time of writing, 99 per cent of readers would, while less than one per cent support Hunt.

Other candidates announced at the conference include disability rights campaigner Naveen Judah, who challenges Liberal Democrat leader and Tory enabler Nick Clegg for Sheffield Hallam.

Ex-GP Dr Paul Hobday will take on Tory Sports Minister Helen Grant for her shaky majority in Maidstone.

In Truro, Rik Evans will try to topple Tory Sarah Newton, who has a majority of around 400.

Karen Howell, a popular member of the Support Stafford Hospital campaign, will stand for Stafford.

And Dave Ash, of the Keep of St Helier Hospital campaign, will take on Liberal Democrat former health minister Paul Burstow in Sutton and Cheam.

Kent GP Dr Bob Gill will be against Immigration Minister James Brokenshire in Old Bexley and Sidcup; Brighton University mental health expert Dr Carl Walker is standing in East Worthing and Shoreham and Oxford health journalist Roseanne Edwards will stand in Banbury where Tony Baldry has just announced he will not be seeking re-election.

NHA Party co-leader Dr Richard Taylor is hoping to regain his old seat of Wyre Forest, which he won as an independent in 2001 and held in 2005.

Notably no NHA Party candidate is standing for South Cambridgeshire, the seat Andrew Lansley holds with a majority of nearly 8,000. Perhaps this shows that they consider him a spent force who simply doesn’t matter any more.

This blog considers that it would be a valuable victory to unseat the man who spent seven years working in secret on what became the Health and Social Care Act – the legislation that allowed privatisation of the health service on an unprecedented, and entirely unwanted, scale.

Nobody should forget that the Conservative Party won its 300+ Parliamentary seats with a lie – the pledge, carried on posters of an airbrushed David Cameron, that the NHS would be safe under a Tory government.

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Patsy Burstow and the next great NHS betrayal


Patsy n A person regarded as open to victimisation or manipulation; a person upon whom the blame for something falls.

Burstow n A patsy.

It seems a familiar story: The Tories plan legislation that is clearly no good at all – in this case, a legal clause to allow the closure of successful hospitals to prop up failing NHS trusts (Clause 119 of the Care Bill). The Liberal Democrats object and threaten to rebel. The Tories then offer concessions to make it seem less likely that this will happen and the Lib Dems withdraw their objections.

All seems well until the new rules are put to the test. Coalition MPs voiced disquiet at the powers being granted to allow a trust special administrator (TSA) to force through changes at a neighbouring hospital if they consider it necessary to save one that is failing. This power is considered likely to be used to save hospitals run under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), which are therefore saddled with huge unnecessary interest bills on the money invested by private companies.

We are told there will be some form of public consultation. Great. Here in Mid Wales, Powys County Council consulted constituents on its plans to cut £20 million from its budget for 2014-15. After the answers came back, the council’s cabinet ignored every single word of the responses and pressed on with its plan. Changes were only brought in after the rest of the council made it clear that they weren’t putting up with those shenanigans.

So much for consultation.

The minute a hospital is closed to prop up the PFI place next door, the Tories will blame Patsy – sorry, Paul – Burstow. They’ll say he had a chance to do something about it but didn’t.

What makes it worse for him is that Labour weren’t going to put up with his shenanigans and forced a vote on his amendment – which would have completely neutered the offending clause. Burstow voted against it – that’s right, against his own amendment, helping the government to a narrow 47-vote victory.

So much for him.

One politician who does seem to have the good of our hospitals at heart is Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham. What did he have to say about all this, during the debate yesterday (March 11)?

“What we have seen … from the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), who positioned himself as though he was going to make a stand for local involvement in the NHS, is the worst kind of collusion and sell-out of our national health service.

“Just as the Liberal Democrats voted for the Health and Social Care Act, again they have backed … the break-up of the NHS.”

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