Ealing Elections: Where do the Parties stand on the NHS?

Ealing Save Our NHS has been campaigning against the planned cuts to Ealing Hospital and opposes the latest plans to contract out and potentially privatise all our community health services. We wrote to the Conservatives, Labour , Liberal Democrats and Greens  to ask where they stood on each of these important issues for local people. Here are the replies we received.


Question 1:  The Big “Sell Off” of Ealing’s NHS

Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group is advertising for a single contractor to run “out of Hospital” services for 10 years.  This contract, tendering out Ealing’s NHS services is worth over half a billion pounds of public money.

Do you support or oppose this tendering out and possible privatisation of huge amounts of NHS services in Ealing?  Have the local meetings of your Party discussed this proposal and if so what are their views?

If your Party supports this tender of NHS services, how do you believe those who won such a huge contract would be accountable to us, the public? 

Or, if your party opposes this tendering out of public services, just what has it done about it?

 

EALING LABOUR PARTY

Ealing Labour are now, and always have been, against the privatisation of our NHS services.
We have, as a Council, expressed our objections to the CCG and made it clear to them that we don’t agree with this decision and will continue to do so.

 

EALING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS (Gary Malcolm)

This issue has not really been made very public by the government which is very sad given its likely importance. My party take a position where the default is not to privatise something like health. However there have been cases where testing of some types of cancer was done more cheaply and as accurately as the NHS. This contract is so large that once done it would be impossible to stop so it is crucial that it does not go ahead. I have spoke publicly about the matter since I was made aware of it.

EALING GREEN PARTY

The Green Party is unequivocally opposed to privatisation of the NHS, and any contracting out of public health services to for-profit enterprises.

We believe that the profit motive distorts the ethos of care on which the NHS was built. Prioritising anything other than patient welfare creates a ‘race to the bottom’ and creams off taxpayer’s money to shareholders, when it should pay for doctors, nurses and equipment. We think privatised services offer worse value and worse care.

Private sector providers are not held accountable via mechanisms such as Freedom of Information requests. They have no place in our NHS.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, introduced a bill to roll back NHS privatisation recently in Parliament.


Caroline presents cross-party Bill to restore and fully safeguard our NHS | Caroline Lucas

This shows how committed the Green Party is to a people’s NHS for the common good. We must fund a public NHS properly and stop making doctors into bookkeepers. It is also important that the NHS focuses on making sick people better, and the Green Party would enable this by funding mental health and social care properly.

Keeping people healthier in the first place is an important supporting pillar the NHS. By taking responsibility for the terrible housing conditions many are forced to endure, as well as dramatically reducing air pollution and promoting healthy living, a joined-up Green government would provide a comprehensive network of health services without any privatisation.

Locally, the first job must be to get more transparency about any dealings the Council may have with Ealing NHS bosses. We all deserve a say in the future of our NHS.

Question 2 The Future of Ealing Hospital

The plans to cut the blue light A&E and hundreds of beds at Ealing hospital have not substantially changed since they were made 6 years ago? Do you support those plans, as laid out in “Shaping a Healthier Future”?

If your Party supports the plans to somehow replace hundreds of hospital beds with health care in the community, please explain how on earth this this could work as there are so far no examples in the UK or abroad.

If your Party opposes the plans, can you specify what your party has done about it?.

 

EALING LABOUR PARTY

Saving Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals has been a top priority for the Labour-run Council and Ealing Labour have pledged to continue this fight if re-elected. 

We do not just offer kind words but put our money where our mouth is. Including:

  • challenging the government’s plans in court.
  • carrying out two independent reviews which have raised serious safety concerns. 
  • refusing to sign up to the so-called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STP).
  • three marches and four rallies attended by thousands of residents. 
  • a survey of residents’ views which revealed 90% of people disagree with plans to axe A&Es. 

We will always stand beside residents and campaigners in their fight to protect our hospitals. For more on our commitments to Ealing Hospital you can see pages 6, 24 and 27 of our manifesto

 

EALING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS (Gary Malcolm)

No I cannot support plans to remove A&E services from Ealing or any local hospitals like Charing Cross which is my local one. When they closed the children’s A&E it meant more patients went elsewhere will no new nurses, doctors or support staff. It meant that other hospitals could not cope and waiting times continue to increase.

I have worked with the Council on the joint campaign with my party, the Liberal Democrats, to raise awareness of the matter. I have spoken at three large public rallies one in Ealing Common. I also was at 10 Downing Street when the first large petition was handed in. Myself and other Lib Dem Councillors were there when we handed in a large petition to the Health Secretary.

EALING GREEN PARTY

We are totally opposed to the cuts faced by local services, and believe that the proposed cuts to local bed numbers represents an unacceptable risk to our health. A population of Ealing’s size clearly needs comprehensive, local emergency care. London’s traffic is hardly the place to be stuck if you are suffering from a life threatening emergency.

At the moment, all we can do is campaign shoulder to shoulder with groups like Save Our NHS, and we have been doing just that. We will be able to do more once we have Green voices on Ealing Council. You can help us there: please give one of your 3 votes on 3 May to your local Green Party candidate.

The Green Party believes that the best provider of healthcare is the NHS, and Ealing deserves a decent, well-funded hospital providing great care, forever.