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Local elections: A Labour-led Council will continue the fight for the NHS

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Currently, Calderdale has 13 Labour councillors, 13 Liberal Democrat councillors, 21 Conservative councillors and 4 independent councillors. Control is in the hands of a Labour and Lib Dem coalition. One third of the 51 seats are up for election on 3 May.

Calderdale Labour group have today pledged that if Labour take control of the Councill in Calderdale it will take positive action to limit the damage of the NHS reorganisation. Labour councillors will act as patient champions and the last line of defence for Calderdale’s NHS.

Calderdale Labour leader Cllr Tim Swift has told the HebWeb: “The argument in Westminster about the Government’s NHS Bill may have ended but Labour’s fight for the NHS on the ground is beginning.

"That’s why we are backing Andy Burnham MPs ‘NHS pledge’ - a five-point plan which calls on local health leaders to work with us to :

  1. Protect NHS founding values
  2. Prevent postcode lotteries
  3. Guard against longer waits
  4. Promote collaboration over competition
  5. Put patients before profits

Cllr Swift continued: “Calderdale’s NHS is coming under sustained attack from David Cameron. The Tory-led Government’s NHS re-organisation is already causing real harm to patients. Over £13m has been taken out of front-line spending and set aside for the costs of reorganiation.

“Labour will ask our local NHS leaders to adopt five principles to protect the NHS from the worst that David Cameron throws at it. Labour will not sit back and wait for things to go wrong in our NHS - it is far too important for that. We believe that by working together with health professionals at local level, we can resist the drive towards the rationing of treatment and the encroachment of charges we are starting to see in our NHS.

“We are fortunate that so far, the plans are for a single GP commissioning group for the whole area, and we need to build on this.

“Some politicians in other parties – frightened by the public back lash against the NHS changes – have tried to say that the NHS is not an issue in the local elections. Of course it is. The only way to guarantee good long term care and support for people is by making sure that Council services and the NHS work together – we need seamless care, founded on cooperation, not fragmented services based on competition and profit. Local councillors will be at the heart of the struggle to make sure this happens, and Labour’s five priorities are the way we can ask our local health partners to work with us to protect the principles of the NHS in Calderdale.”

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “May's local elections give people angry about what’s happening to our NHS a chance to tell David Cameron what they think of his betrayal of NHS patients and staff. Before the election he promised no more top-down NHS re-organisations but brought forward the biggest ever, taking £3.45bn away from the frontline and running unforgivable risks with patient safety. A vote for Labour is a vote for the NHS.”


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