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East Midlands Lib Dems vote to defend the NHS

February 24, 2015 5:38 PM
By Kate Smith - PPC Amber Valley and Leon Duveen - PPC Bassetlaw
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

On Saturday morning at their Spring Conference in Ashfield, the East Midlands Liberal Democrats passed a strong motion defending the guiding principles of the NHS and calling for improved cooperation between Acute Care, Primary Care & Social Services and a return to stronger local oversight.

PPCs at East Midlands Con 2015 023.jpg

Kate Smith (third from right) and Leon Duveen (third from left) with Party President Sal Brinton (centre) and other Lib Dem PPCs at the East Midlands Liberal Democrat Spring Conference in Ashfield, Saturday February 21st

The motion (full wording available here), proposed by the Party's PPC for Amber Valley Kate Smith & seconded by the PPC for Bassetlaw Leon Duveen, shows that the Lib Dems are serious about defending the NHS here in the East Midlands and across the UK

Kate Smith emphasised the high quality of the debate and that she had enjoyed it.

She added, "It is urgent that we learn from the best of what is produced outside the Party. Clearly we can't suddenly turn the clock back or adopt a policy in an instant, but the provocatively titled NHS Reinstatement Bill has good elements and one of them is the reintroduction of Community Health Councils (CHC) where were the local voice of the patient and which had real teeth"

During the debate, representatives agreed that the current local voice of patients health watch was not working and that a return to CHCs with real teeth to hold the local NHS services to account and to oversee any change in local services was needed.

Other speakers spoke of the lifesaving treatment they had received from the NHS and that as a party we must make sure that the funding of the NHS must be increased to meet the growing demands.

Other points raised were the massive drain on some Trust of the PFI deals forced on them by the previous Labour Government (for example the nearby Sherwood Forest NHS Hospitals Trust has to pay 16% of its budget, £3.5 million a month, to fund the PFI deals for Kings Mill Hospital & Newark), the costs involved in hiring locum doctors & nurses and the need for hospitals, GPs & also Social Services to cooperate better in providing continuous care for people discharged from Hospitals.

Leon Duveen summed up the debate and concluded by saying "For the NHS, standing still is not an option. It needs to change and adapt to the changing demands on it. The NHS Reinstatement Bill mentioned in the motion is an attempt to turn the NHS organisation back 20 or more years when there were long waiting lists, both for appointments & for treatment"

He concluded with, "As the motion lays out, we must make sure that whatever change the NHS goes through (and change it will & must), the guiding principles must be:

  • Free at the Point of Care

  • Improving co-operation between the different parts of the NHS

  • Be more responsive to local needs

Please support this motion"

The motion was passed unopposed and adopted as policy for the East Midlands Liberal Democrats