Experiences of a Public Governor of a Foundation Trust

I wish to know Jon Ashworth’s plans to prevent the further privatisation and ‘Americanisation’ of our National Health Service as well as making the case for the need for a vital injection of capital. The whole country can now see the effect of austerity, lack of trained doctors and nurses , the reduction of hospital beds and PFI projects on our NHS.

I was a public governor for three years in a Wirral hospital trust and observed at first hand the amount of public money wasted on private accountancy firms, business bids and plans, advertising , and salaried governors. This money would not have been needed if the foundation trusts, like academies, had not been set up like private businesses, and could have been spend on health professionals and equipment. When I asked the in-house accountant how the Trust could cope with making ‘savings’ year on year without their patients suffering, she had no answer. It was becoming apparent that too few citizens of Wirral were able to afford private healthcare. This situation was not of the making of the Trust’s staff , who all were working to the best of their abilities.

Simon Stevens, who spent several years in the USA working for a private health company, appears to think that splitting England into 44 separate regions, the STP footprints, including our own for Cheshire and Merseyside, is the way forward to save money. This is destroying the NATIONAL Health Service and replacing it with a postcode lottery that can be administered by profit based health companies, often American owned. Stephen Hawking made the headlines by taking on Jeremy Hunt in order to warn the British public. It is imperative for the survival of the NHS and the Labour Party that the Labour Party at all levels speak out loudly to save our NHS. The British public are largely united in their love of the NHS and will not forgive any major party that allows England to wake up to a much shrunken health care system based on the USA model. ‘National Insurance’ should and did once mean that the risk of any British citizen falling ill was spread throughout the whole population.

The beguiling rhetoric of ‘the local solution’ has been accepted by many local Labour councils and city regions. What is about to happen to health and social care in Greater Manchester is extremely worrying and it will be the Labour Mayor and Labour councillors, and not this Tory Government, who will be blamed when their citizens begin to feel the savage reduction in NHS provision. The results of last year’s council elections reflected the disillusion felt with many Labour councils, as the election of the Birmingham Regional Mayor illustrated, so that many were surprised when Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, with a socialist manifesto, actually convinced young people that there was something worth coming out and voting for. If young people see what Labour councils and City regions are allowing the destruction of the NHS to go ahead, without Labour MPs and shadow ministers making the restoration of a NATIONAL health service their most important policy , they will vote accordingly.

I have been asked to choose in a survey, assessed via the internet, whether I thought that the local CCG s should finance hip replacements , (denying these life transforming operations to the elder amounts to physical torture) or IVF treatments, the denial of which amounts to mental torture for younger women. This brings into shark relief the empty benefits of choice on a local scale. Also it allows the Secretary of Health and the Government to shirk their responsibility for the health and well being of British citizens. Mrs May has already said with regard to a problem with NHS provision that it was a local decision. Wirral Labour controlled council will be blamed as well as our Labour MPs .

The Labour Party tends to have its strongholds in the less prosperous old industrial regions of the North and Midlands, as well as the London area. The local solution for health, policing and public services is going to be much worse in poorer areas such as Merseyside. In most Labour areas the vast majority of the population cannot afford private health insurance: even those that can when young and well would be reduced to bankruptcy as in USA if they or a family member developed cancer or suffered long term health problems. How the Labour controlled Manchester city region is able to deal with health and social care , policing , education and other public services is something that affect the outcome of elections in the future. It is of the utmost importance that the Labour controlled Merseyside city region does not accept responsibility for health linking it with social care.